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Return to the Sea

Travelling from Agama to Swakopmund

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View Trip of the Half Century on IronladyTravels's travel map.

The return drive from Agama to Swakopmund was just a repeat of Sunday afternoon. Except the mini-bus had much poor suspension than the Toyota SUV we traveled in on Sunday. We even stopped at the same places for photos. (courtesy of the book I bought in Swakopmund, I know we traveled through the Kuiseb canyon pass and then the Badlands where you can see undulating ribbons of shale rock through the “waves” of small hills)
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We did not stay here but it was close to the Tropic of Capricorn sign and it made me laugh thinking of Rostock Ontario.
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I asked our guide why all the fencing - there is miles and miles of fencing with nary an animal to be seen. Oh, those are farms. I have no idea what is being farmed as I saw no evidence of crops or animals (or buildings) - so if there are herds of bovines, they must have been elsewhere on the enormous property (there weren’t a lot of trees or valleys to hide in).

The other thing we saw were the road crew living quarters (who drive graders to smooth out the gravel roads). It looks like a small metal train car on wheels divided into 3 or 4 little units (they must be brutally hot in the day and freezing cold at night). The crew lives in it for 2 weeks and moves it along the road depending on what section they are leveling. I had commented to Winston that it must be a lonely life and he said “they like the solitude - no one bugging them and they can do their own thing”. I guess this would be much like being a long haul trucker.

We stopped for a late lunch in a spot where the “bitumen” road began again outside Walvis Bay. There was a granite outcrop - polished smooth and round by the wind (my geology book explained this phenomena - how there are granite rocks in the middle of the gravel desert). Once again, our lunch consisted of food best eaten hot (all I could think of was a nice ploughman’s lunch would have been better). As my boys argued about the likelihood of Jonathan traversing a narrow ramp to access an overhanging cave, our guide and driver went down to deal with a surprise inspection by a government vehicle. We had technically stopped in a place that required a permit - which we didn’t have. Fortunately, the government official had no jurisdiction and no ability to issue a fine. He was simply being opportunistic and hoping for a payout. Pro-tip : ask to have an official fine written out so you can pay it at the government office vs simply handing over cash. Clearly, some people pay up or he wouldn’t have bothered to stop.
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We then also stopped at a very new mall on the outskirts of Walvis Bay for a bathroom break. I scooted down the Mall to Mr Price to buy some shorts for Ben who has put a hole in his athletic shorts some how. (for those of you interested in prices: I got two pairs of athletic shorts for about $34 canadian - reasonable but not bargain). We are still looking for a sweatshirt for Ben as he brought one that has a hole - but it has POCKETS.

My observation is that there are line ups for ATMs. I haven’t figured out why - is it because people prefer to deal in cash or does the value vary so much that you just take out what you can.

We did a little tour of Walvis Bay which even after Namibia had independence was claimed by South Africa thus requiring you to show your passport everytime you left Swakopmund. There is a lagoon in Walvis Bay (and yes, we were those tourists who got out of thei rmin-bus at one end and walked along it to the other end where we were picked up in our mini bus) with flamingos.
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Along the water front are holiday homes owned by international travelers. They were like holiday homes everywhere - and in some ways didn’t look that different than the homes lining Wasaga Beach in Ontario - although these had flat roofs and walls/gates. Walvis Bay (according to my book) is also home to sea salt production through man made salt pans.

Posted by IronladyTravels 17:50 Archived in Namibia

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