The Greatest Namibian Roadtrip That (N)ever Was

The best laid roadtrips of mice and men…

I had hoped that this Sunday evening would be spent shaking sand out of my shoes, applying aloe to sunburns, and combing through thousands of stunning pictures of Sossusvlei and Deadvlei… but my immune system had other ideas. So, long story short, I got a grand total of 24 hours in Namibia! On the plus side, it’s probably the one country with the most monotonous landscape, so by seeing 1% of the country I was sort of able to see the other 99% as well?? Right?? Ok, I know, not at all…

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Flamingos in the Walvis Bay Lagoon, driving in from the airport.

But, when you start getting flu-like symptoms and you just returned from a malaria region the week before with quite a few mosquito bites… you don’t mess around. You don’t proceed with your plans to drive two more days deeper into the desert, where hospitals are 400+km away. You get your butt back to Cape Town to get some blood work done. I had also been sick the whole previous week, on some meds that possibly negated the anti-malarial prophylactic… so my luck was down and anxiety was high. Turns out that my flu-like symptoms were just “the flu,” but I still feel vindicated in making that judgment to prioritize my health, as much as it sucked!

Isa, my friend that I was traveling with, was incredibly understanding and sweet about the whole thing. We’re doing our best to get our lodges and car rental refunded, so we can finally put our playlists to use on another epic roadtrip!

Special shout-out to my mama for talking me through this potential health crisis at 4am, just hours after coming out of surgery herself. <3

We did get to see some gorgeous scenery and cram a lot into the 24 hours we had in the country, though! Namibia is the second-most sparsely populated country in the world, and holds plenty of adventure for those down to drive through dunes and unpaved highways.

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Walvis Bay Airport is brand-new (literally opened last week), beautiful, and promises to make the region even more of a tourism hub than it already is!IMG_4579

First impressions of Namibia from the air: sand, sand, and more sand… with some rugged coastline…and VERY few signs of civilization!
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Right after landing, we picked up our rental car and drove up the coast to the Swakopmund area, an old Bavarian settlement, now existing as a charming mix between a kitschy European beach town and rural African village.

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Our guide showed us how to take a magnet to the iron in the dunes and write with it like an etch-a-sketch! So cool.IMG_4660

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Based on what we were able to see, I recommend the following in Swakopmund:

  1. Daredevil Adventures Quadbiking- Nothing like cruising over dunes that seem to go on forever! One hour is plenty.
  2. Napolitana Restaurant– Quaint with good quality Italian food and generous portions. Calamari is huge, fresh and delicious!
  3. Ilse’s Airbnb– Sweetest host, super comfortable and cheap apartment.. highly recommended as a jumping off point for a Namibia road trip!
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 The two areas I really am sad I wasn’t able to see: Deadvlei, a valley of petrified trees and cracked earth, and Kolmanskop, a mesmerizing coastal ghost town.

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Felt so, so good to spend the weekend recuperating in Cape Town. This is a scene across the street from my apartment that happens pretty much every night, and I’ve got to stop taking it for granted!

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Going to be extra nice to my body this week so it behaves for my upcoming trip to Botswana!

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Feeling grateful in home sweet Cape Town and ready for the normalcy of a work week.

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