Saturday, 24 July 2010

Holiday Part 2: Namibia

After having a thoroughly enjoyable time back home it was a great feeling to know that when I landed back in Namibia my holiday wasn’t over!

After picking up the rental car I ended up getting a bit lost in Windhoek due to me being extremely tired (and stupid) but I eventually made it to Arrebusch guest lodge where I met up with Kate. I was very pleased to see her and she appeared pleased to see me however she was rather more excited to see the 4kg of dark chocolate Toblerone I bought for her from the duty free shop, that’s right 4kg!!!!! I am a bloody good boyfriend am I not?? :)

I was far too tired to venture out anywhere so we just relaxed at Arrebusch and ate at their restaurant, which was excellent (the food there is probably the main reason me and Kate keep returning.) The next morning we headed of to the airport and picked up my sis and Jim. After a quick lunch we said goodbye to Kate and headed back to Arrebusch where this time it was Kate and Jim who were too tired to go anywhere. So the next morning is where our holiday really began!

Our first destination was Soussesvlei, but to get there we had a good 4-hour drive south ahead of us. Soussesvlei is an area consisting of stunning sand dunes and is one of Namibia’s most popular natural attractions. It has been a place I have been dying to see ever since I arrived in Namibia and it exceeded my expectations, being there was like being on another planet and all three of us loved climbing/sliding up and down the dunes.

Also, our accommodation near Soussesvlei was amazing as our room/tents were located in the dessert with stunning views of the Namib-Naukluft mountains. And my two years in Africa has helped turn me into a braai master and I thoroughly enjoyed cooking over a fire under a moonless sky with millions of stars above us – it was a fantastic start to our Namibia hols!

Our next stop took us right to the coast to Swakopmund. Swakop is Namibia’s prime holiday destination and is famous for all kinds of extreme sports and exciting activities. I have seen many of my CCF colleagues leave and return with amazing stories over the past two years and for one reason after another I have been unable or forbidden to go, so it was an amazing feeling to finally drive into Swakopmund and set eyes on the South Atlantic ocean for the first time.

We again lucked out with our accommodation, which was a very nice two-bedroom apartment with a sea view. When I booked this trip there were four things I just had to do in Swakop and I am pleased to say over our three-night stay we managed to do all four. The first was to go quad biking and sand boarding in the dunes and I can’t even describe just how much fun it was!

The second was to have dinner at the Tug restaurant, which is famous for its seafood; I had very nice calamari and kingklip and even braved the oysters that Kate had raved to me about although they did little to convert me. My sis and Jim had the………….chicken (although they also braved the oysters, again there were no converts!).

The third was to kayak in Walvis Bay with the sea lions, which was another amazing experience and something I will definitely try and do again before my time in Namibia is up.

The final thing I had to do was visit the craft market and test out my haggling skills. When we arrived we found that we were the only visitors in sight and were instantly pounced upon by the craft sellers and luckily for us all of them were offering a ‘special price’. Their special prices however were aimed at gullible first time tourists and so the haggling began. My greatest success was to get my favorite craft seller and fellow Liverpool supporter to come down from $2000 to $740 for two impressive woodcarvings. Again, never underestimate the power of the English charm!

Sadly after only three days it was time to head to CCF where we would stay the night before setting of early to Etosha. I took my sis and my cousin Ayesha there last year but unfortunately it was during the rainy season and animal sightings were not as plentiful as we would have hoped. This time our chances would be better and as it turned out I had my most successful Etosha trip yet! As well as plenty of Zebra, Springbok and Giraffe our sightings included 2 Leopards, 14 Rhino, Elephants, Hyeana, Honey Badger, Civet, Genet and a huge Male lion.

Kate and Jim’s last two days were spent at CCF and I got to show them our recently born livestock guarding dog puppies and take them feeding where they met the greatest cheetah in the world, my beautiful Xena!

The two weeks flew by and sadly one of the best holidays I’ve had was over :( Kate and myself took the day of and drove my sis and Jim to the airport and we said our goodbyes - How my sis managed to squeeze all the souvenirs she bought into her suitcases I will never know!

With Kate and Jim safely on the plane Kate and I made our way to Joe’s Beer House where we met up with some past CCF volunteers to enjoy one last night of freedom before getting back to work. It was also the night of England’s opening game in the 2010 World Cup. But more on that to come……