I thought travelling across the borders of SA was over for 2016 because I’d had the big holiday in August. Great my delight when the opportunity to travel presented itself yet again! I was asked to be the Master of Ceremonies at the Spar Swakopmund Women’s Morning in Namibia. This didn’t only mean ‘traveling’, it meant traveling in Africa – I couldn’t decline the offer!
I left Cape Town on Friday afternoon at 14:00 and landed in Walvis Bay at 16:00. The site that took my breath away first, was the view that greeted me while driving from Walvis Bay to Swakopmund. We drove on a road that is smack bang between the ocean and the dessert. It’s completely surreal to be in a dessert, yet have the ocean right next to it. I wish I had the words to describe exactly how it felt to see this. I pictured the scene in SATC2 where Carrie Bradshaw is in Abu Dhabi and while in this beautiful dessert, she then decides to take a walk on the beach. I couldn’t believe that this view greeted me within only a few hours of leaving Cape Town.
Namibia is SA’s neighbouring country and gained independence from South Africa in 1990. English, Afrikaans and German are the languages which are widely spoken in Namibia, so there were no worries about not understanding anyone.
An old train station was converted into the lovely hotel where we ended up spending the weekend. I wished that it was warm enough to enjoy more time at the pool, but hopefully I’ll do that next time. I mentioned that German is spoken in Namibia and this part of Namibia is also known as little Germany. The architecture reminds a lot of Germany and the town and streets are wonderfully clean. Even dinner was enjoyed at the local Brauhaus!
Saturday morning dawned and we headed to the beachfront for the Women’s Morning. 750 ladies, all dressed up and showing their support for those battling cancer. A round of applause to the Spar team for a great event! It took place in a huge marquee on the beach, was beautifully made up and both the food and entertainment were topnotch! They had the group Elvis se Seun performing and motivational speaker, Alison Botha for the day. Google Alison’s story, I remember reading about it as a child and to have worked with her was really quite something.
Even though we were in Swakopmund for work, it didn’t feel like it. Our group of ladies decided to head to a wellknown local hangout to enjoy even more local cuisine and each other’s company. I didn’t expect the weekend to turn into such a wonderful getaway!
The day didn’t end there and fortunately so! We had dinner in the dunes. Dune 7 to be precise, the largest dune in Namibia and one of the largest in the world! I thought I’d head up the dune stylishly, but about quarter of the way up, I had to let go of style and use my hands and climb. It was exhausting but the view from the top – mind blowing!
Our ‘oasis’ in the desert – the spot where we had dinner.
Dinner was exactly as I’d thought a desert dinner to be. Even though it was windy and quite cold (make sure you’re dressed warm for the desert evenings) our Bedouin tent provided much needed shelter and was cozy enough for even the children to sleep in.
TRAVUL tip: The desert looks very different in the dark, don’t try to make your way out of it on your own. Kudos to our driver, Elsabé, for getting us out and for not losing sight of our escort.
It’s wonderful how quickly one can make new friends and new memories with them too! I’d jokingly said that I’d love to do camel rides in the desert. Alison saw a place where we could do it on the way to the airport and before I knew it, I was face-to-face with a camel. I could’ve backed out, but by then every one of the 4 ladies had decided that they should get in on the action, so I had to push through. Also because I constantly say that I need ‘stories for my grandchildren’, they had completely bought into the idea and despite their own reservation and fears, mounted their camels.
TRAVUL tip: Always travel with people who can push you out of your comfort zone.
Within seconds, Debbie (who feared it the most) was like the Queen of the Desert – she even asked if we could get the camels to run! Anne barely said a word
TRAVUL tip: Try not to get the camels to run – they do and you will be in pain the following day!
We made it to the airport by the skin of our teeth and spoke all the way to the front of the queue and into the plane. We suspect many people were only too grateful not to be flying back to Cape Town with us! ☺
I wholeheartedly recommend Swakopmund as a holiday destination and also a weekend getaway spot. From Cape Town it’s a 2 hour flight and we got back to Cape Town in about an hour and thirty minutes. That still allowed a wonderful Sunday afternoon to relax and get ready for the week. If you have enough planned for the few days, you’ll see everything you need to see and if you have great company, you’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the world when you return. When traveling you always expect to meet new people and make new friends. What is even better: Traveling with acquaintances and returning as friends.