Thursday 11 April 2013

G Adventures West Africa. Day 4: Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, Namibia

Almost 800km by road north from Luderitz is the deep water port of Walvis
Bay where even the largest cruise ships can tie up. My guide for the day,
Estelle Pretorius, tells me that QM2 is coming back for her second visit
soon and that many cruise companies are visiting this town, sandwiched
between the great Namib Desert and the Atlantic Ocean more-or-less midway
along the Namibian Coast.

The port, which mainly services the mining industry – evidenced by great
piles of black manganese ore on the wharf – is the nautical gateway to the
tourist centre of Swakopmund, 35kms further north. It's difficult to
envisage a thriving tourism industry in such a remote location, surrounded
by wave upon wave of desert sand dunes. But apparently the town became a
hideaway for Angelina Jolie, who came here to give birth some years back.

At the famous Dune 7, so called for being seven miles from town, some of the
hardy group scale the 100m pile of sand, while the rest of us enjoy an
energetic dance display from local schoolchildren (pic above). I opt for the
latter and even join the kids for a jig, a source of some amusement to both
the troupe and the assembled passengers.

Out in the desert we see the famous and seriously ugly Welwitschia plant
(pic above) that lives for hundreds of years on a few drops of rainwater
(and looks the part – imagine a desiccated triffid run over by a
semi-trailer) as well as the desolate so-called moon landscape that could
easily be the setting for a science fiction movie.

We sprint back to the port to try and get first dibs on the pilot, but lose
out the stately Saga Ruby just leaving for Accra, so we pop down to check
out the flamingoes wading just off the beachside boulevard.

Our pilot aboard, we sail into the setting sun en route for Angola with two
full days at sea.

More pics:

For more detail on this itinerary, see > West Africa

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