After getting to Windhoek, I found out that the desert is along the coast. I wanted to see the Namib Desert, so I made my way to Swakopmund, which is close to the beginning of the desert. The moral of the story is that Namibia is a country very friendly to the overlanding tourist. For me, without a car or an international driver’s license to rent a car, it was challenging. Basically, I wasn’t really able to make it to the desert. I took a slow camel ride that barely touched the tip of the desert. I will have to return to Namibia one day, prepared. I would like to see the endless red dunes of Sossusvlei. I also need to learn how to camp. I met a friendly early retiree at a backpackers in Swakopmund who had just driven from the Namib Desert and relayed that he had camped overnight and got to see many animals during the drive including zebras, barely a meter away. Ahhh all of my jealousy.
Being on the coast, Swakopmund also has freezing and unpredictable weather as in Cape Town. Though the coast was pretty, I was keen to leave after having little prospect of getting to the desert and with all of the accommodation fully booked. Namibia is a very popular country with German tourists and retirees abound. The majority of the white 4×4’s and hatchbacks driving on the road are driven by tourists. That’s another thing about Swakopmund that I didn’t like. It is almost entirely a resort town/retirement community or travelers passing through, on their way between Sossusvlei and Ethosha. Though I thought Windhoek was a bit touristy, coming to Swakopmund, I began to appreciate Windhoek as a more authentic place. But, what is authenticity after all? Anyway, I think my tourist journey has ended for now, I look forward to getting back to Zambia and settling down for a couple months.
Pictured below are bikes of overlanders at a backpackers. While most overlanders use cars, some fancy motorcycles.
There appears to be a large population of the Nama people in Swakopmund. Their language has click sounds, which is really interesting to me. My camel guide was a Nama and explained that most of the people who work with animals in Namibia are Nama people. When I asked why, he claimed that camels don’t like the more populous Ovambo people because they have bad body odor. Lol.