I recently traveled with some fellow Peace Corps volunteers through the vast and deserted expanse of Namibia. Each time we drove through a town you had the eerie feeling that is was abandoned. So different from Zambia which is bursting from the seams with people and children.
We came in by Intercape Bus from Livingstone, Zambia to Windhoek, Namibia and it took nearly 15 hours. After reaching Windhoek we immediately rented a car and took off to Sousselvei. Everyone has probably seen the area if they’ve ever watched some of the 20+ movies that have scenes shot in Namibia.
Sousselvei is known for its’ massive sand dunes and the dry and dead trees surrounding them. The area doesn’t look real and consistenly you find yourself wondering about the reality of this area? Are things alive as you pass one dead tree after another but you’re constantly reminded that things are alive as springbok or oryx you pass by the roadside.
After Sousselvei, just one short night visit, we headed to the coast. We drove by dirt roads all the way to Walvis Bay and then by tarmac to Swakopmund. The area was beautiful and a popular vacation area for Namibians, Germans and South Africans especially during the holidays. We enjoyed the beach and were knocked down by the outrageous waves.
On our way to the Northern interior and Etosha National Park (100 years old) we drove through a small chunk of the Skeleton Coast.
The coast is known for its’ high density of shipwrecks and low survival rates. You really need a 4×4 vehicle and a GPS to truly see the bulk of the wrecks but we did get to go near one. Also part way up on the coast we saw Cape Cross where thousands of seals come to mate and rear their young until they are large enough to fend for themselves. The smell was atrocious and the sound obscenely loud but so cool to see that many seals together. The pups also don’t wander with the mother, they just seem to congregate together.
We took off making it to Etosha two days later. The park was impressive, they even maintain a large water hole just five minutes from the camping area and animals are constantly coming to drink. Nearly any time of day you can find huge herds of animals and even lone rhinos and lions.