Once again, due to my work, I go out to know the world. This time Namibia!
I though I wouldn’t have time to visit anything while in Namibia because I had a lot of work, but the Universe is always on my side and because of some delays in the well we were drilling and issues with my visa, I had to stay in Windhoek for around a week. So, I had a couple of afternoons to walk around the city and I went to Etosha Park during the weekend.
I might say this in all of my trips, but I really think this was the best. It’s going to be hard to take away its first place.
I traveled with Swiss Air from Madrid with a stopover in Zurich and South Africa. The first two nights in Windhoek I stayed at the Klein Windhoek Guest House. It is far from the downtown and is quite basic, although with good prices, good service and clean. A taxi from the hotel to downtown is approx. 70NDS.
In Windhoek almost everything closes after 5:30pm, so during the week I had time to visit the German-influenced Christus Kirche church, the Independence Museum, the Parliament and its gardens, and the TransNamib Museum.
There is an option to make a day trip for a safari in Okapuka. I didn’t go there, but from the pictures I saw, Etosha is way better if you are short of time.
Because the Guest House was fully booked, the rest of the days I stayed at the Kalahari Sands Hotel. A bigger hotel, in downtown and with more options to dine around.
Where to eat in Windhoek?
These were my favorite restaurants in the city:
- Joe’s beer house: Excellent for game meat. The place is very turistic, but you won’t regret going there, just book before doing it. I tried the Bushman Sosatie, that as you can see in the picture below, it’s very particular
- N.I.C.E. (Namibian Institute of Culinary Education). Visit also the garden it has. I tried the oysters here and also in Joe’s beer house, and they were excellent and huge in both places
- The Gourmet. To try the typical German schnitzel
Note: Be aware that I make this trip in June 2014, so I don’t know what the future holds for those restaurants, although I really hope they still open.
Also, my colleagues recommended me not to walk around at night time by myself, and that it was better to use the hotel taxis and tell them to pick you up later. During the day I felt safe to walk around downtown.
The terrace in the Penthouse of the Hilton Hotel is also cool to watch the sunset.
Etosha Park Safari (3D/2N)
I booked this safari through www.wilddog-safaris.com, one week before. They used a bus, similar to a school bus, and the tour was for 15 people. But, again the universe was with me, and we were only 3 + drivers: one professional photograph lady from South Africa, a teenage german volunteer and me. We had a blast.
I don’t remember the exact price I paid, but it was around 300euros for everything.
They picked me up at my hotel (Kalahari Sands Hotel) and we hit the road at 9:00am. First stop was Okahandia to visit the craft market that has beautiful things in wood and very cheap. We also went to a supermarket to buy some snacks and some great South African wine (very important).
On our way to the park, we stopped in the road and the tour guides cooked hotdogs for us. It was nice, but we were nervous about getting to Etosha late, which didn’t happen cause these guys know very well their schedule.
Upon entering to Etosha park, after 7 hours of driving, we went to the first waterhole on the left of the entrance, and the best time of my life happened: the waterhole was surronded by lots of elephants, then giraffes came. We stayed there until we were complete satisfied, and then see zebras, springbok, oryx, etc., in our next stop.
That night we slept at the Okaukuejo campsite, in some cabins, but it is also very good for camping (with our tour, you can decided in you want the cabins or prefer to camp for a cheaper price). I don’t remember the difference in the price, but if I do it again, I think I’d prefer to camp because it’s easy to hear the animals at night, although I could hear some of the lions roaring from my cabin.
After the guides cooked our dinner, we went to the campsite’s waterhole (2 minutes walking). That night we saw elephants, giraffes and rhinos, while enjoying a good South African wine and the silence of all the guests. A unique experience.
The camp’s doors open at dawn and close at sunset. We left the camp at 6:30am to visit several waterholes. Today we saw giraffes, elephants, a rhino and the stars of the day were the lions with their cubs.
Around 1:00 pm we went to the Namutoni campsite (beautiful rooms) to prepare our lunch (hamburgers) and relax a bit because it was too hot and the animals do not tend to move around much in hot weather.
At 3:30pm, we continued our safari.
(sorry for the amount of pictures, but it was really hard to choose a few one).
After this wonderful experience, perhaps one of the best in my life, we returned to Windhoek.
We were very lucky to see all those animals in just one weekend, apparently it’s not that common, although the chances are bigger this time of the year (dry season). Also, we were basically the only ones in the waterholes. I can’t believe the luck I have.
Once in Windhoek, I stayed a couple of days in the Hilton Hotel before heading to the coast to go offshore.