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Heading north - from Cape Town to Swakopmund

another transit day

sunny 15 °C
View Trip of the Half Century on IronladyTravels's travel map.

Another gey, wet morning but we discovered that is typically the morning weather in central Cape Town. At the airport, we took another bus to our “small” plane which the boys informed me was a PJ (translation: private jet … gotta keep up with the kids slang). It was a 39 seater and was mostly full.

See the tourists in their normal positions
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Our PJ
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We flew in mostly clear skies up the coast. We saw farmland in northern SA (which Jonathan declared looked like southern Ontario) and then sand dunes and mountains along the coast of southern Namibia.

We landed in what appeared to be the middle of the desert. Nothing as far as the eye could see - although later we discovered the Walvis Bay airport was close to both an uranium mine and a desalination plant (the latter was built by the Chinese majority share holders in the uranium mine when it appeared that government couldn’t guarantee them access to water). Once again, we were the last people to leave the airport because we were at the back of the plane and then the border people hassled us a bit because I couldn’t prove I was my children’s parents (mind you this was after the border lady told me how much we all look alike). So we've scrambled to get the canadian long form birth certificate emailed to us which proves we are the parents.

Our shuttle driver told us he had almost given up on us and left. We walked out of the airport to hot desert sun. The driver gave us a choice of the desert road or the ocean road. We chose ocean partially because of Grand Tour (and partially because we knew the next day we were driving through the sand dunes). The driver chose to pass a “lorry” (18 wheeler) and, we learned 30 seconds later, didn’t see a white pick up truck coming. I assumed he was just driving the way locals drive (hey - who am I to judge) but the driver was a bit shook up by the fact the truck didn’t have its lights on and he had to swerve in tight in front of the lorry. We learned that white Toyota pickups are ubiquitous.

It was about a 30 minute drive north along the ocean. The surf was HIGH. I shuddered to think we were going to be learning to surf in THOSE waves. We passed various “tourist” events like quad biking in the desert (guess what the boys want to do now). There were also quite new “executive” building developments between the road and the ocean.

Our hotel in Swakopmund is about 1 block from the Pier. The layout is interesting with sets of two rooms off a common entrance. The room is all concrete but somehow it feels modern and sleek vs a prison cell. (we do look down on a barb wired/walled yard which we later learned belonged to the local primary school. The boys did comment on how much less barbed wire there is in Swakopmund than Cape Town).

We dropped everything and headed for the ocean - like baby turtles know instinctively when they are hatched to head for water. We walked the Pier and made a, in retrospect, bad decision. There is a german donut shop at the land end and I thought to myself, we’ll grab a donut on the back from walking the pier. Sadly the shop guys were locking up at 3:50 (we saw them about an hour later playing beach volleyball with a gaggle of girls so clearly they have priorities). Perhaps we’ll grab a donut when we are back in town on Wednesday.

We then walked along the beach for about 30 minutes to the far end. Ben was chasing the waves so of course was soon soaked to his knees. I was immediately happier - wind, sand, waves. It didn’t matter that the water was freezing. We made reservations at a restaurant we walked by and kept on walking past kids playing in the water, and families sitting on the sand, young women arranging themselves in Insta-worthy photo sessions. The waterfront felt very “holiday’” - it could have been Santa Maria Island with the holiday rental units along the beach.

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We had an “early” supper (aka 5:30) at the Brewery and Butcher (there is a gaggle of restaurants at the north end of the beach front) - this one is a steakhouse of sorts. It is a very upscale, modern restaurant with - we noticed at the end of the meal - outlets by our table. I had ribs which were good but not as good as the Super Bowl ribs that Mike and I make. The boys had a medium rare steak prepared bushman style - basically it was chopped thin and spiced somehow. Very very tender meat and great flavour. The boys both had malva for dessert - one with caramel custard and one with ice cream. I did my duty to sample both (how I sacrifice myself to be able to provide comprehensive reports) and can report that the caramel custard was bowl licking good.

There was a brutally cold wind blowing in off the ocean during our walk back to our hotel. We walked “in land” along a palm tree lined boulevard and then a swerve through town to admire the german feeling architecgture. The sunset off our balconies was gorgeous my photos do not do justice to the colours.
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Posted by IronladyTravels 18:01 Archived in Namibia

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