SOSSUSVLEI

Ah, back to the travel writing I go!

 

So after leaving the wondering and magnificent Swakopmund, I joined up with Chameleon backpackers for their tour to Sossusvlei, the complete tour includes the northern region of Namibia, but due to the fact that I was short on time, I unfortunately missed out on the first half of the tour. I can not emphasize enough, just how absolutely incredible this company is, they were professional, had an incredible amount of expertise and the accommodations were superb. They picked me up from the hostel that I was staying at, although not affiliated with Chameleon and we were on our way down to Sossusvlei.

 

It’s quite the drive from Swakopmund to Sossusvlei, and after many hours we finally made it there. We ended up staying in the middle of nowhere in these very luxurious safari tents. Our guide made some amazing dinner and we got to hang out and chill together. There were about 10 of us in this tour. It was an interesting mix of people. Some couples, a mother and daughter duo, a father and daughter duo, me , another solo backpacker, it was quite the group.

 

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A picture on the road

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Another picture from the road

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YAY animals!

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Tropic of Capricorn

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Beaut of a sunset

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My room

I was absolutely exhausted, so I passed out right away when go there.

 

The next morning we were off to Big Daddy!  I don’t know what the sand dune is actually called, I am pretty sure it’s Big Daddy! We were off to hike it.

It was a tough short hike up, only because for every step you took you fell down like 2 steps. It is incredibly difficult to hike on sand. But we made it up there and it was incredible!

 

The next thing we did was run down the mound.

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YAY!

 

Only to run into this incredible view.

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Incredible.

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Absolutely incredible.

 

It’s like nothing that you have seen before. It took my breath away for sure!

 

After that we were off to “sexy valley”

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Pretty sexy eh?

Then we called it a night, with another feast around the camp fire.

Here’s another sunset pic to wrap up this blog post.

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ooooooo its blurry too

 

SWAKOPMUND

Swakopmund is just one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It is the place in Namibia where the desert meets the ocean it is absolutely incredible…

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The night I arrived in Swakopmund, I got there super late and so I just had a chill night. It is a lot colder than I expected it to be, I was in long pants and had a scarf on. The next day I had organized a tour called The Living Desert tour. The guides were all very knowledgeable, friendly and open to questions. They are super accommodating and will pick you up from where ever you are staying. The guides take a conservation perspective and really open your eyes to how important it is to conserve the desert and not destroy it. The desert and dunes are heavily used by dune buggies, the use of dune buggies not a huge issue, if people stay on tracks they are supposed, it becomes and issue when people do this “off roading” stuff. The owner of the company has been working hard to get the desert protected.

Anyway with the tour, the point is to see the Little 5 of Africa. As most people know,  when you go Africa you have to see the big 5, well here are the little 5 of Africa. The interesting thing about Namibia, is that the desert and the ocean create a unique environment for some really cool animals.

So the little 5 include the chameleon, gecko, skink (legless lizard – it is different from a snake), snake and spider. I highly recommend this tour, educational, fun, and the guides are amazing.

 

That afternoon in Swakopmund was free, so I just explored town, I went to the crystal museum and the Swakopmund museum. The crystal museum was quite impressive, lots of crystals. The Swakopmund museum was interesting, just a mash of everything. If you don’t have the time, you don’t have to go. The nice thing about these places is that they are all walking distance away from each other  and right beside the beach.

 

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Arriving in Namibia

So as Namibia was the first stop on my “solo” backpacking trip I was very worried and over planned it. I do not regret this at all, because it just made the trip a whole lot smoother. I arrived late at night at the Windhoek airport. Now the funny thing is, is that the Windhoek airport is located about an hour out of the city so be sure that you know where you are going once you arrive. Fortunately I was able to coordinate a ride with the hostel I was staying at Chameleon Backpackers (for more info…https://naiomiblogs.wordpress.com/category/namibia-hostel/ ). They were waiting for me there at the airport, with a sign with my name on it. I have forgotten exactly how much this is but i believe it was between $20-25 (CAD). There is an ATM at the airport as soon as you enter the arrival hall, so there is no need to worry about getting money beforehand like I did. I was running around the Joberg airport looking for a money exchanger or an ATM… there are no ATMs in the international departure area, so don’t bother looking, but I digress.

 

My first glance of Namibia was at night. So, really can’t say much about first impressions. From what I could see the town center looked very quant, and old town type of feel. Very European. Namibia is a very young country, just gaining independence in 1994, just as old as I am. So the European feel is not very surprising.

 

 

 

 

After arrival, I chilled at the bar at the hostel and had a nice cold Windhoek beer. I had a travel day ahead of me, so I rested up and headed to bed.

Hostels

In Namibia, I found that there weren’t that many options  for hostels. There is one main hostel in Windhoek that most people go to and honestly it was quite wonderful. Before I begin this post about hostels I would like to recommend the travel agency, The Cardboard Box, the lovely Allison helped me the entire way and made sure that everything was in line for when I arrived. This was my first real backpacking portion of my trip and it gave me a sense of safety to know that somethings were already planned and ready. Anywho… the hostels. In Nambia I visited 2 places on my own (Windhoek and Swakopmund) and then a third on a tour (Sossuvlei). Unfortunately I didn’t get to explore the northern part of Namibia on this trip but that just means I have to go back right?

Windhoek

Chameleon Backpackers 

This was the backpacker that I chose to stay in, in Windhoek. I absolutely loved it. This is the most popular backpackers in Windhoek, there is another one, I didn’t get to check it out, but I heard it is much quieter and does not get the traffic that Chameleon has. Also a plus, grocery store is about 2 blocks away and they have free continental breakfast (yay for free!). They have airport transfers, which you can coordinate with them prior to your arrival. When I arrived in Windhoek, someone was waiting for me with a sign that had my name on it and waited for me while I took money out of the ATM.

For first time travellers to Namibia I highly recommend doing this, as the airport is actually quite a ways away from Windhoek.

Upon arrival, someone at the front desk was there to greet me and then gave me a tour of the entire hostel. It is set up in a great way, it has a large hangout area,bar,  breakfast area, pool and TV room. There are 2 different rooms that you can book there. The dorms or the privates. I was situated in an 8 person dorm. The dorms are clean, have lockers and 1 bathroom to share.

I have read countless reviews about grouchy receptionists and workers but I failed to encounter a single one. They were very accommodating and have great safari packages. I did go on one and will speak more to that in a later blog post. I would like to mention just how accommodating they were. As I really wanted to see the coast on my own they told me that they could pick me up further down the coast to join their tour later on. Truly exceptional.

Swakopmund

Desert Sky

As in Windhoek there are a few options in Swakopmund. I chose to go for the quieter of the bunch as I was recommended it by a traveller I met, while in Zambia. And I am glad that I did. My arrival at Desert Sky was a bit of a fluster. I had just gotten out of the shuttle that would drop me there and I realized I had left all my travel voucher in the van. In a panic I ran into the hostel shouting at the poor lady my situation and she told me to calm down and give her a phone number and she would sort it out. And she did, then she kindly gave me a tour and restaurant recommendations. Again there are 2 options, private rooms and dorms. I stayed in a 6 person dorm, and it was grand. All beds are outfitted with large comforters and fluffy pillows. There is one shared bathroom per dorm. They have a kitchen that has free tea and coffee, an entertainment room and a bar b que. It is centrally located and all sights are near enough to walk to.