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Published: November 13th 2009
After successfully finishing our semester at Stellenbosch, Heidi, David, Ximena, and I were off to Namibia!
We took the Intercape bus from Cape Town to Windhoek, the capital of Nambia. In total the bus trip took about an entire day, we only stopped for food and gas. Once we arrived in Windhoek, Ximena and David took another bus to Swakupmond, a popular coast-side town. Heidi and I however, chose to stay in Windhoek and spent a night in the Cardboard Box hostel.
We had already booked a night in the hostel so after getting off of the bus, it was just a matter of getting there. We got in a cab, the first time I had ever been in a taxi, and told him where we needed to go. I was very excited when we actually arrived at our destination. Having never had been in a cab before I was a little terrified of being taken somewhere I didn't want to go. The hostel itself was decent, the dorm rooms were acceptable and the bar and pool were a definite plus. In fact, Heidi and I ended up spending the majority of our time in Windhoek reading by the pool.
After we checked into the hostel on the first day, we got directions to the shopping center from the lady at the desk. We were joined by two other exchange students from Stellenbosch who had come up to Windhoek with us on the Intercape bus. While we would be leaving in two day's time for Wild Dog & Crazy Kudu Safaris' '6 Day Taste of Namibia" tour; a combination of their two three day tours, the first going to Etosha National Park and the second going to Sossusvlei; they would be going on a different tour to Victoria Falls the next day. The lady had told us that the shopping center wasn't very far so we could just walk. After walking for awhile we ended up at a mall. When we tried to leave we came out at a huge taxi stand. Tons of drivers were calling to us, trying to get us to take a cab. We kept walking though and eventually ended up in humongous taxi parking lot. As a group of four young white women all in our early 20s, we were attracting very uncomfortable amount of attention. I had never so obviously felt so many
eyes on me. It was really eerie. As soon as we all became aware of the attention that we were creating, we hopped in the first cab we could get and told us to take him to the city center. After we got out of the cab we stopped at a restaurant for something to eat before emailing home and finally doing some shopping.
David and Ximena came back to Windhoek the following day and the next morning we were picked up at the hostel by Wild Dog Safaris bright and early. We were taken to their headquarters for a quick briefing on what we would be doing for the next three days and then started making our way north. We stopped for lunch on the side of the road not far from some of the biggest ant hills I've ever seen in my life.
We did a lot of game driving in the park and it was truly amazing to see all of these animals in their natural habitats. When you see zebras and giraffes in zoos it is impossible to understand why they are colored the way they are, but after seeing them where they are
meant to live it is easy to see how their skin is actually camouflage.
The second campsite that we stayed at was incredible! The bathroom facilities were fantastic and there were swimming pools! After driving game all day we set up our tents, changed into our swim suits and went to relax in the pools for a little while. Later that night we went to the flood-lit waterhole to watch some more game. We got to saw a lot of animals including a lino and a rhino! It was very exciting and amazing to realize just how close we were to the animals. The next morning we went to the watering hole again to see if we could see any more animals. There was nothing too exciting there in the morning but it was neat to see the waterhole in the daylight. It looked a lot less mysterious.
That same morning we were back on the road heading back to Windhoek. We stopped at a wood carving market on the way back but I didn't get anything. Although it does remind me of a souvenir that I bought (in South Africa, I think). On one trip, we had
Outside the Cardboard Box hostel. This was day two, so we didn't get lost this time.
made a stop to get something to eat and drink. As we were coming out of the store we were stopped by 2 or 3 guys who were selling nut carvings. They could speak English very well and were trying to impress us with what they knew about American pop culture.
"Where are you from?"
"Ahh Michael Jordan....What's your name?"
"I made this for you..."
"uhh.... how much is it?"
"......" *he shows me the nut with carvings of giraffes, zebras, etc complete with my name*
I looked at, not really wanting to buy it but amazed the ingenious idea of carving peoples' names into the nuts. I ended up buying it, although at the time I thought it was a bit much to spend on a carved nut. But now I'm glad that I bought it.
We got back into Windhoek around four. They dropped us off at a fabulous guest house. It had a really nice common area with a couch, TV, dining table, and wine cabinet. They also had a full size kitchen complete with all of the pots, pans, and dishes you could possibly need. Instead
This little guy is about 10 feet away from our tents...
of spending money on eating out, we went into town and bought stuff to make pasta at the grocery store. Dinner for four coming up for about $2 a piece! Bingo! We went back to the guest house, cooked and ate dinner, and then watched Titanic on TV before heading to bed. The next morning we were once again picked up by Wild Dog. We were off to Sossuslvei
99% of the photo credit belongs to Heidi Pettersson
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