Chica's Gap Year Part II 2005/06 travel blog

Atlantic Ocean at Swakopmund


Market in township

Nursery in township

Me and Bonnie on our bikes

Trying to look confident

In action

Namib Desert

Another big day and long drive to Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast. I didn't know anything about the town before arriving. It was cold!! That plus the fact that there was a strong german influence; roads were a grid system, brightly coloured houses and shop fronts, plenty of art nouveau buildings, german tourists and fabulous cakes.

It didn't feel at all like Africa to me even though the country gained independence in 1990. The receptionist at our hotel, Antionio from Angola, very kindly took me and Bonnie on a tour of the "location" which was a polite word for township were all the black people live about a 40 minute walk away. For me this was the best bit of Swakopmund as it wasn't all about fancy cakes and pretty buildings.

We went to the local market were people came from all over Namibia to sell things, not much got sold while we were there. The local delicacy was dried witchity grub-like things.... I couldn't bring myself to try them. I did sample a Namibian doughnut fresh out of the pan. Antionio thought we were mad as the doughnuts were usually eaten cold, I saw the flies and thought fresh out of the pan would be better. The meat market was busy and nothing got wasted. I went to put some paper in a bin and right next to it was the clean lower jaw bone of some animal....nothing like a visit to your local Sainsbury.

Bonnie and I also visited the local nursery where the kids were anything from 1-5 years old. As in other parts of Africa, pens, pencils and paper were expensive so Bonnie and I went loaded with lots of school supplies. The lady who ran the nursery lined up all the kids who sang us songs in english, afrikaans and two of their own local languages! Not bad for the under 5's!!! The kids were a bit nervous of us until we got our digital cameras out.... having posed they wanted more, so we took lots of pictures and showed them. Definitely the best part of Swakopmund.

I went quad biking in the Namib desert, never done it before and nothing like riding a bicycle. Bonnie talked me into it. She and the guide were riding high up the sides of the dunes, I took it easy, I just had this picture of me not making the turn in time and flying over the top of the dune.... Only a couple of incidents to report:

1) I was bringing up the rear of the group (all 3 of us) and Bonnie kept looking behind to check I was ok which I was. I gained a bit of confidence and put some speed into driving up and over the dunes.... went barrelling up one dune and the drop on the other side was a bit of a surprise, so much so I started yelling all the way down. My throat was sore by the end of the 2 hour trip.

2) Confidence dented a bit after the big dune drop so I started taking it easy again, too easy in fact.... the bike stopped moving started to slip down the dune. I found my voice, the guide came to get me out of trouble and Bonnie caught the whole episode on film.... Nice one!

I found out afterwards that Bonnie belonged to a quad biking club !

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