Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Swakopmund! Does Zebra taste like Chicken?

Another early start - seems to be our Namibian routine.  Early breakfast and on the road within a half an hour of sunrise.
Today's mission - a long drive on C roads to the coastal city of Swakopmund.  Our drive was through some very scenic areas but very remote.  Along the way we saw a few Himba woman in their traditional dress selling their crafts.  Otherwise the ride was bumpy, dusty and long.
For the most part no other vehicles either.  We occasionally saw tourist types ( like us) but most were heading inland - in the opposite direction.  Most opt to do the circuit we are driving in a clockwise direction.  We are going counter clockwise for no particular reason.
No sighting of desert ellies along the way.  But a wonderfully strange experience and in an absolutely positive way - is the moment we approached the ocean.  The desert literally meets the ocean!  And a bonus..... a paved road.
We had decided to bypass the Cape Cross seal colony so we can take our time along the inland route and also to explore the coastal route.
As we drove south to Swakop we stopped in Henties Bay - a Namibian summer town with upscale homes.  The town was in full winter mode - mostly empty summer houses and only the locals minding the town.
Eventually we made our way into Swakop.  It was a national holiday - so as expected the town was pretty much closed down.  What a great opportunity to walk around for photos without much interference from cars and people moving around. The afternoon was also a good time to map out our shopping expedition around town - since the next day shops will be open for a few hours only - in actual celebration of the national holiday.
While in Swakop, we opted for desert exploration over cruise and ocean activities.  So after some shopping we headed out to a spectacular drive ( some of it on D roads - you've been warned!) to see landscape that is aptly called "moon landscape" and the wonderfully unique Welwitschia plant.  A truly great experience despite some tough driving conditions.
We enjoyed our stay in Swakop.  Our hotel was in all respects one you could easily find in Europe.  As a matter of fact, if one were blind folded and dropped off in Swakop one could easily conclude that they are in a Bavarian town.  (Many shop keepers would greet and address us in German as we stopped in their shops.)
We also enjoyed two excellent multi course meals in our centrally located hotel and at a moored tug boat.  Great service (totally unpretentious) along with the freshest of Namibian seafood including oysters and kingklip.  And I had a mountain zebra steak.  It was very good and did not taste like chicken!

From here we are going to the dunes....

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