Published: November 26th 2006October 16th 2006
On the way to Swakopmund from the Namib Naukluft Park area we drove through two passes - I especially liked Kuiseb pass - the scenery (!) was a mix of rocky hills with bands of grass growing on them, which made the whole landscape seem striped black and greeny-yellow - rolling and undulating into the distance. We filled up with fuel at Solitair and arrived in Swakopmund in time for lunch. We had driven a little detour in Walvis Bay to see if we could see the flamingoes in the lagoon (we couldn’t drive down to Sandwich Harbour to see them because you needed a 4 wheel drive for that trip). We could only see a pink line on the horizon - which with binoculars was indeed a HUGE number of flamingoes. I was expecting them to be nearer to the shore so was a little disappointed - but it was still good to see the pink line and it had not added much time to our journey. Swakopmund is the seaside holiday resort for Namibians in December and January when it gets too hot inland, and it had that holiday sort of feel to it. It was cooler as it
was on the coast, but not as cold as Luderitz, although we did have a duvet and a blanket at night, where as in Namib Naukluft we had not really needed any covers at night at all! We checked in at the Hotel Pension Rapmund and walked to the centre of Swak’. We changed some money and then went to the Village Café for lunch - it was lovely to sit in their courtyard at the back, sheltered from the wind, and enjoying the sunshine. The food and service was excellent and we enjoyed everything about it - it was relaxing and we sat there for ages just ‘chilling’. It sort of harped back to my ‘travelling’ days - I am not sure if they served banana pancakes etc, but it was the sort of place that felt as if it would! We were really only using Swak’ as a stopping place in order to visit the Cape Cross Seal Reserve further up the coast the following day. So we didn’t DO much in Swak’. We did have a little walk along the promenade (The Mole) near to the Strand Hotel and the Lighthouse Pub and Restaurant, and saw some
seals lazing on the rocks. We also went into the Lighthouse Pub for a quick drink, and decided to head back there for our dinner later… which we did! We liked Swakopmund, it has some lovely architecture too - traditional old German, and the Woermann Tower, which you can climb, but we didnt. When we left Swak the following day, we drove up the coast to the Cape Cross Seal Reserve. At its peak there are apparently 100s of 1,000s of seals there. We knew that the males start to arrive in October, closely followed by the females, and that it can be really noisy. As we were paying for our entrance fee, I asked if there were many seal there, and was told that there were a few… which we took to mean that maybe there were 3 or 4. We went towards the coast and the area where the seals were. As soon as we got out of the car we could smell that maybe there were more than three or four! There were probably about 100 in total (more than either of us have ever seen), and they were in groups, females around a much larger male. Most of them were just lazing on the sand and on the rocks, but some appeared to be having arguments and at times were roaring and shouting at each other! One female had a tiny little pup - which took a turn in ‘shouting’ too, at a much higher pitch than the males!! We walked along and looked at the various groups, and at some of the seals swimming and playing in the rough sea. I wonder what it is like when there are thousands there! We drove back down to Henties Bay and turned off on to the C35 towards our next stop of Twyfelfontein. The drive up to Cape Cross is the beginning of the Skeleton Coast. This is a barren area of Namibia - at this stage mostly rock and gravel. The part that saw was really barren and didn’t make us want to see much more of it. But I think that maybe further up the coast it has a different type of landscape with dunes. It was pretty cold and misty - but of course as we turned in land it became hot and sunny. In fact because the weather changed so much and heated up, I got out of the car on one of the roads, and changed into some clothes more befitting for hot weather. Just to prove how deserted the roads are - I got changed on the road without anyone to see me! There was not a car in sight! Probably someone will prove me wrong and find a satellite picture of me getting changed, or someone in a car 20 miles away will have had a super telephoto lens and prove me wrong!!