After our last night in Etosha, we headed south in Namibia! There was more fun to come but our game drive experience was coming to an end. Luckily, the morning we left we FINALLY spotted a cheetah! It made everything complete for me even if we did not see a leopard.
Next time, I thought. Next time…
After we left Etosha, we drove towards the desert, observing the change in landscape which is absolutely breathtaking. Now this was more of the Africa I was expecting! Not all that rain business we experienced back in Botswana.
On the drive, we made some stops along the way to visit Namibian craft stands selling goods along the side the road.
At one of the stops, there were traditional Himba women selling goods. The Himba is a famous tribe of ‘red people’ where women paint themselves with red clay mixed with butter. It was incredible to see. It was as if I was viewing a live version of a National Geographic magazine!
Here is one of our favourite tribe members that we met!
After a day of driving, we arrived at Brandburg Restcamp. Here we relaxed, had a few drinks together and got ready for what the rest of Namibia had to offer.
We reviewed the list of optional activities and some how, after a couple of cocktails, I got convinced to sign up for skydiving in Swakopmund with Pam, Jac, Kevin and Dale. Never in a million years did I see that coming….
I really should cut back on the wine…
By mid-morning the next day, we reached our first stop of the day, Spitzkoppe! Here was a group of bald granite peaks, over 120 million years old, located in the Namibian desert. The tallest of the peaks is Spitzkoppe which is known as the”Matterhorn” of Namibia rising 1728 metres. This place was beautiful! The meerkat was pretty cute too..
Afterwards, we got back into our truck and headed to a small coastal town in Namibia called Swakopmund.
Ah Swakopmund! A strange little town filled with unexpected, amazing adventures that just kept coming! Here we even got to take a break from camping and stay in a hostel. What a nice change, I thought!
Man, was I wrong….
Now, I do not know how things went so sideways when I locked up the room the first time we left, but things went from bad to worst. I would like to say in advance, that I refuse to accept full responsibility for everything that went wrong. I locked a door. That was all that I did.
So there were two doors in the hostel room. There was a room within a room and a main room door. When we left, I locked both doors. The key fit in both and turned with ease, so I assumed this was what was needed to be done. Now, when I came back to the room to grab something before we left, the main door would not open. That’s weird…
I went to the front desk and asked them if they had a different key for the door. “We do not have keys for those doors!” they exclaimed. “You are not supposed to lock them!”
One. Nobody told me that. Two. You should put up a sign or something! We tried everything. Greasing the lock, trying every spare key they had on site. At the end of the day, the door was going to have to come off and be replaced. Luckily, we had not locked one of the windows, so we were able to climb inside and get our stuff!
On the plus side, they had to switch us rooms. We got a nicer one out of it. Maybe it was fate?
That night we got ready to go for a group dinner! Finally having access to private bathrooms, we decided to try and clean ourselves up a little. Maybe even throw on a little makeup and straighten our hair… Oh the finer things in life you miss when you are camping. I was feeling pretty good after I cleaned myself up! This was validated when I walked into the lobby and noticed Kevin looking at me a little differently. That’s right – I still have it – I thought!
Wait, why would I care what Kevin thought about me…
Feeling good, I went to quickly put my iPad, my most precious possession, away for the night as we were getting ready to leave. Strolling out of the lobby with a little spring in my step, I quickly found myself flying through the air before landing flat out on the pavement. I screamed in horror as my iPad flew out of my hands! Everyone ran out from the lobby thinking that someone fell off of the balcony based on the pounding sound of my body hitting the ground and the scream that unleashed from my throat. Never mind my ripped jeans, bleeding knees and road rash all over my hands, “My iPad! My iPad!” I cried.
Although both a little banged up, my iPad and myself were okay. The only thing bruised was my ego… I’m such a disaster…
Luckily, we had a great time out together with dinner and drinks to make up for it!
The next day, it was go time! In the morning we headed out to quad through the sand dunes and do some lay-down sand boarding. This was going to be bad ass! Most of the girls from the tour were doing it along with Charles.
That day he was known as Charlie – and we were his angels!
Quadding through the sand dunes is one of the most amazing things I have done! I wish the pictures could do the scenery justice because it was incredible.
As if the day could not get better – after we were done – Pam, Jac and I grabbed Kevin and Dale to go skydiving! I could not believe I was actually going to do it. It is something I had always wanted to do but was never sure I actually would. What better place to do it than in Namibia?
They have high safety standards, right?
We had a couple of pre-drinks at the hostel to settle our nerves and get ready for the afternoon!
When we got there, we were given a quick briefing and then were shown the costumes we had the option of jumping in. Seriously??!! I quickly grabbed the giraffe, Pam took the monkey, Jac the zebra, Kevin the tiger and Dale the lion.
This day could not get better!
After a couple of drinks while we waited for our turn, the group jumping before us finally returned. We were to go next!
Then, the owner came over and told us it was too foggy to go back up. We started laughing at his joke until we realized it was true. Disappointment swept through all of us! We wanted to do this together so bad!
Luckily, when life gives you lemons, I know how to make lemonade! Since we decided to stay there all night anyway for the owner’s birthday party (because why not?), I suggested that we enjoyed the afternoon in our animal costumes! How fun would that be? It did not take long for everyone to throw them on and suddenly we were having the best afternoon ever – even without skydiving!
We started acting out animal scenes in the parking lot too. We thought we were hilarious!
Just when the day could not get better – the birthday braai started.
Now, I love bbqs! I have always thought there is nothing better than people getting together and bringing meat, side dishes and salads to indulge in. But there is something better – an African braai!
First, let me put you straight on the difference between a bbq and a braai. I referred to it as a bbq, and I was almost asked to leave. A braai uses coal or wood chips under an open grill, whereas bbqs are propane or natural gas fuelled. It also involves some different techniques than a BBQ.
Need to turn up the heat? No problem! Grab an ice cream lid and start fanning that fire! Need to cool it down? Grab some water (or your beer) nd pour it on the flame! There is no temperature knob on these grills.
And the food!! Oh man… Was it delicious!
There was every kind of African meat you could imagine. Kudo sausage, oryx steaks, bacon on a stick, other meats on sticks, other delicious smelling meats, scallop potatoes, casseroles, salads and garlic toast!
It is moments like this that I will remember forever. Being apart of the birthday, welcomed like we were, and eating the local food was amazing. The whole day was one of the best days of my life! Spending it with Pam, Jac, Kevin and Dale made it even better.
It is about having those once in a life-time experiences, the ones you will remember for the rest of your life that you otherwise never would have had, with people that you otherwise never would have met.
The hardest part is knowing that eventually you need to leave the people you have met.