This is the first post in months without pictures, but since it’s just a summary and I’m trying to catch up over slow Internet everyone just has to deal. Cool? If anyone’s still terribly upset I’ll add one or two pictures once the Internet connection gets better!
I spent 11 days in this country, and it might sound odd but I feel confident that I have “done” Namibia. What I mean by this is of all the major tourist things to see here I think I’ve seen them, and there’s nothing I’ve heard of that exists in Namibia that I haven’t seen but want to (well, maybe H.E.S.S.– Cherenkov telescopes run by the Germans! I did my senior thesis on Cherenkov radiation!)
That said, I found Namibia to be a pleasant surprise on the overland circuit- maybe because you never hear about it I thought it was more of a drive-through country, but I pleasantly learned this isn’t the case. Reasons to follow…
– The Namib desert, particularly Sossusvlei. I thought I had seen desert before in the American West, but trust me when I say our deserts have nothing on the magnificence of these dunes or the desolation all around! Not saying I want to pick up house and move there or anything, but it was really cool to drive for days and days and still be in the desert and all.
– Swakopmund was another surprise- who would have guessed there was a German town hiding in the middle of the Namib desert on the coast? With a brauhaus and bakery where you can go quad biking and fishing and skydiving and stuff? The fact that our first beds in a week were to be found here didn’t hurt either.
– The wild side of things (ie animals) in Namibia were pretty cool, both Cheetah Farm and Etosha National Park. I will rate Etosha as one of the better game parks I’ve been to in southern Africa, actually, because there were so many huge herds of zebra and giraffes and elephants and what have you, bigger than anywhere else we went really.
– Because I found it entertaining, I kept meaning to read Dante’s Inferno ever since I visited Florence earlier this year, but finally got around to it while in Namibia (well, skimming to the interesting parts). What were the odds that a 15 year old on our truck would have it for “fun” reading and lend it to me, I ask you?
– I got sick for the first time on this trip while in Namibia, not counting the various times my stomach got funny from food in Asia (not to say this too early but my stomach has yet to have problems in Africa at all, mostly thanks to our wonderful cook on the overland trip I’m sure!). Granted by “sick” I mean “head cold I caught from my sister,” so honestly one cold in six months isn’t bad at all! I think the trick is when traveling by yourself you usually aren’t in close quarters with anyone for a long amount of time, whereas at home one gets sick more often because you have little choice…
– On another list of firsts, I had some currency stolen from me from our guesthouse in Swakopmund, the first time I ever had something stolen from me on this trip. It wasn’t a dehabilitatingly large amount or anything but it was someone from our overland group, as evidenced by how other people had money stolen in similar fashion. For lack of anything better to do, I’ve just chalked it up to “travel shrinkage” and kept an extra close eye on our things from then on.