Springboks Pronking


We were kindly asked to put our bags in our lockers on the truck before we went to breakfast each morning. There was usually a log jam getting the bags on. Our lockers were on the far side from the entrance, so we often had to wait. I don’t know about any other places in Africa, but we never felt like our things were in jeopardy of being stolen, though that has happened on some Nomad tours. Mostly this is because we were the only people staying in our hotel and it was very early or late at night. Plus we were staying in walled, gated hotel compounds, mostly to keep us safe from wildlife. But the people we came across in towns were friendly and polite, though many were persistent in asking us to buy their goods. Some enterprising boys waited patiently by the truck on our last stop in a country. They got our spare change, drank the last water in our nearly empty bottles, and carried our grocery bags for a tip. We easily looked like the most well-off people in the entire country of Namibia and Botswana. Our fancy sneakers and hiking boots, sophisticated backpacks and skin color gave us away in a nanosecond.

Our day started with breakfast at the pavilion at 7:15 am. We watched hundreds of springbok antelope “in our front yard” scatter and then finally collect themselves in a single group before they darted away. It was magical to see.

We paid our bar bills from the night before and left for a talk with a San bushman on his farm and 4x4 truck. He showed us his land, his animals and farm. He explained the tracks in the sand and showed us with a magnet that the black powder on top of the sand was actually iron.

We had lunch there in the shade. It was pasta salad and apples.

We drove over the bumpiest road yet. The temperatures climbed until we were limp and the breeze coming through the truck wasn’t any help at all. Gift said it was about 38C (100.4F) and with no a/c on Chuck, it was a long way, especially with nowhere to stop for even an adventure bathroom. There wasn’t a bush or tree for 150 miles.

Our drive was through the Badlands of Namibia. We stopped for a view and mini hike next to a deep canyon and a dry river.

Finally, we got to the ocean – a place where sand dunes meet the ocean in Walvis Bay. We saw flamingos in the shallow waters by the shore.

We finally made it to a pit stop at a gas station and then went to an adventure center to book excursions for the next day.

Others booked dolphin cruses, quad bikes, sand boarding, and sky diving, we decided to take the next day easy and explore the town of Swakopmund instead. By this we meant shopping, but while we had too many things with us, we had collected a few “needs” by then. We also, rightly assumed that this might be our last real bit of civilization for a couple of weeks.

Dinner was at an African restaurant where we had a family style buffet. There was chicken in peanut sauce, grilled fish, oryx meatballs, more chicken, rice, couscous, potatoes, pap (African corn porridge, kind of like thick cream of wheat), bread and mussels. We finished with a fascinating chat with the wait staff about Namibian tribes, artificial divisions created by those damn Europeans and clicking languages.

We slept for the first of two nights in our glorious beds in our German-style guest house: Stay@Swakop run by multitasking Yvonne. She runs the B and B, drives people into the town, and arranged for our laundry to be done (angels sing).

The next morning we woke up at 8am! A late wake up and a leisurely breakfast was a real treat. Yvonne had a woman working for her making eggs to order to complement the rest of the buffet breakfast.

We spent the day shopping in the town, spending money on trinkets and bracelets, tea in to go cups, which by then felt modern and luxurious, and lunch at the mall. We walked on the beach and felt the icy Atlantic Ocean for the last time.With fresh laundry, we repacked and regrouped. We rested a little before dinner at the Jetty, a nice restaurant on the pier. Jen had a bummer of a dinner, but I liked mine. I had come to like a local fish called Kingklip.

I saw a sprinkbok pronk at one point on this trip but I don't think I got a photo of it. The photo included here is from Google Images. It's not my image.


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© 2020 by Leigh Haubach, The Buzz on Travel

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