Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Cleverley's Namibian Holiday

Its been a long time since my last blog! I've been kept pretty busy the last few months but its about time I posted a new entry, especially as last September saw the Cleverley family reunite for a holiday and my mother is not happy that I haven't marked this occasion on my African Adventure!

This was the third time my sister had come to visit but the first time for my mother who I thought would never make it out here due to her fear of flying. But brave the 11 hour flight she did and it was great to see them both exit the arrival gate (Kate unfortunately had to stay at Solitaire and work). Our first stop would be Otjiwarongo where we would stop overnight before heading further North to Etosha. Before we got there however we had our first bit of heart stopping drama......the seat belt my mother was using left a thin line of dust on her shirt. Panic was eventfully averted by the placement of a tea towel around the offending seat belt.....PHEW!

After the three hour drive we arrived at a former regular haunt of mine the Cest Si Bon Hotel where I received some presents from the motherland and enjoyed one of the best meals Namibia can offer; the Cest Si Bon Espatate!  The next morning the adventure really began as we boarded our trusty Toyota Condor and made our way to Etosha National Park.

We spent three days in Etosha, and despite the continued horror of the dirty seat belt, a great time was had. Mum thoroughly enjoyed the luxurious accommodation, saw the Etosha pan and we had great sightings including Rhino, Giraffe, Lions (briefly) and lots of Elephants.

Swakopmund was our next destination where I had rented out a beach side house for three days. Despite being mortified by the estate agents security briefing which included a demonstration of the security alarm swiftly followed by a security car screeching up outside the house  believing we were actually being robbed, Mum eventually settled down and relaxed.
We took things at a more relaxed pace and spent the first two days relaxing at the house and going for walks along the beach front and visiting the tourist shops and craft market. I think its safe to say that haggling is not one of Mum's favorite activities but luckily her son is now a bit of an expert and we managed to get some quality items for reasonable prices.
A definite highlight was our Sealion and dolphin cruise at Walvis Bay, I have done this cruise many times as its one of Kate and I's favourite things to do in Namibia.  Great Sealion sightings are guarantied and this time we had fantastic dolphin sightings.
After Swakop we headed further South to my current home Solitaire Guest Farm where we would spend the rest of the holiday and if I had had a crystal ball we may have spent the entire holiday here as Mum loved the self catering house we rented for the week. As the picture below shows the house is very large and has a deck overlooking the desert providing a stunning view. However, I think the main  reason for Mum's love of the place was that the high vantage point allowed her to spy on everyone on the farm!
Kate and I stayed with mum and sis at the house which made a very nice change from our tent and Kate made use of the kitchen and cooked up some awesome meals. Kate had met my mum briefly before at the airport a couple of years ago but this was the first time we have spent proper time together. And that was the whole point of spending the week here, just to spend time with each other and relax, it was glorious!  Even cheeky dogs got the chance to enjoy a bit of luxury:
Mum and sis of course got to meet the cheetahs and see me in work mode, I think mum now realises why I have stayed in Africa for so long but she still couldn't resist trying to tempt me back to the UK by planting the seed of working at Longleat every so often - "They have cats too you know?" :)
We did have one day out to Sossusvlei of course. I had been looking forward to taking mum to the dunes for a long time because I knew she would thoroughly enjoy the 4x4 only section at speed with techno music blasting out the speakers! The ride reduced our volunteer Lili to tears of laughter and I will forever regret not having someone video it, it would have been a YouTube sensation. I thought the sight of the majestic Dead Vlei would make up for the traumatic experience but mum wasn't overly impressed as she exclaimed "You mean I walked all this way just to see a dead tree?!" Climbing the dunes was definitely not on mum's wish list but my sis and I wasted no time climbing up and running and jumping down the dunes - it simply has to be done.
Time went far to quickly and it was time for mum and sis to head back to the airport. We were all completely rubbish and failed to take a group shot of all of us :(

 I am really proud of my mum for conquering her fear of flying to come out, I know Namibia would never have been on her radar for a holiday destination if not for me being here but bar the horror of the seat belt and the trauma of the 4x4 drive I think she enjoyed herself :)  It was great to spend time with her and my lil sis, I miss them both a lot. It was one of the best holidays I think I will ever have, but I have a suspicion it might not be the last time they visit Namibia.