It's time for Africa!
I think that Africa will be the tourist hot spot in 2021 because an increasing number of African countries are opening their borders for travelers who are not scared to see the beauty of Mother Africa. I should come back to Africa too! If not in 2021, undoubtedly in 2022!
That's why I think it is the right time to tell you about my first African trip that included Namibia and South Africa in 2018. One of the best moments of my quick African tour was an express safari that I managed to join and thanks to it I could see the majestic Namib desert!
Right on New Year's Day, Jan. 1st, 2018, at 5 pm, I was in the Namibian capital Windhoek! Hosea Kutako International Airport looks more like a small bus station in a remote U.S. town and as a bonus, the border formalities are very slow. It took me an hour to get my passport stamp. However, all the Namibians, including the border guards were super friendly and kind.
I did not arrange any transfer in advance but a couple of taxi drivers were waiting for potential customers at the airport exit. One of them offered to get me to my hotel for NA$ 400, which was about 22 euros/US$26. I accepted the offer and we headed to Arebbusch Travel Lodge. The place happened to be a whole resort village with cute cottages, campers, and tent bungalows with a BBQ in front of them. I booked one of these bungalows for a night because my 3-day safari to the Namib desert had to start on the next day, January 2nd.
I really liked my bungalow, which had a huge bathroom and a European socket for my phone. The lush greenery around was impressive and the restaurant offered on its menu the best schnitzel I ever ate.
Day 1 - Edem Dune Sunset
Next day, at 10 am, a car picked me up to take me to the safari meeting point in Windhoek. I had to board a safari truck Toyota Dyna with an international group of 13 tourists, most of them Germans but also including 2 Koreans, 1 Spanish, 1 Polish and 1 Japanese. The plan was to sleep two nights in a tent at a campsite near Sesriem Canyon. The first day only included a sunset on the Edem dune, whereas the second day had to be much busier - seeing the sunrise on top of Dune 45, then going to Big Daddy, Sossusvlei и and a sunset at the Sesriem Canyon. On our way back on, on the third day, we had to visit Solitaire as well.
Our guide and driver Sam was local, with an incredible sense of humor and his assistant Job was a very good cook. Unfortunately, while I was taking photos of everything, the other occupied the best seats, so I had to go to the back with a friendly Japanese tourist and two relaxed Germans, who had seen all of Namibia and had many interesting stories and impressions to share. Listening to their stories made me much happier along the bumpy dirt road leading to the Namib desert. We had great views from the truck and we periodically asked Sam to stop for some quick photos of the local nature.
The sunset on top of the Edem dune with a sundowner (a local term for a drink you have while you enjoy the sunset) and the two antelopes we saw made me forget quickly the long way to the top of dune.
Day 2 - Dune 45, Big Daddy and Sossusvlei
The dinner was around the campfire with some zebra steaks. It was the first time I ate zebra meat but it was really good! Sam told us that we had to wake up at 4:30 am next morning in order to get to Dune 45 at 5 and see the sunrise there. I was so excited that I barely slept that night! I couldn't wait to see the real Namib desert! At 3:45, I was already up!
We left the campsite at about 4.35 and at 5 am, we are at Dune 45. It took us about half an hour to reach the top but the effort was worthwhile! The view of the surroundings and the desert sunrise was stunning! I took some great photos there!
When we went back down to the track, Sam had already prepared our breakfast with some tasty Rooibos tea. We ate quickly and headed to the dead valley Sossusvlei and the famous dune Big Daddy! Another incredible place! Just look at the pictures! They are much more worth than my words.
That night we went to Sesriem Canyon to spot another beautiful sunset. I enjoyed even more the night sky and stars. It was a breathtaking view!
Day 3 - Solitaire
On our way back to Windhoek, on the third day, we passed through the remote settlement Solitaire, at the edge of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. We had lunch there and a super tasty apple crumble for dessert. Before reaching Windhoek, we also spotted some giraffes that we happily photographed.
Overall, this was my best African experience! Too bad that it was so short. I need to go back to Africa!
© 2021 Chris Kostov