This weekend we went to Swakopmund, a town on the west coast by the Atlantic ocean. This is the driest area of Namibia, and here is the desert and the dunes. The city has a lot of activities to offer, and this time of year it’s also very quiet.
To get there we took the Intercape bus from Windhoek. A comfortable way of travelling, and also cheap. We had booked rooms at Dunes backpackers. I haven’t seen the other backpacker places in Swakopmund, but we werent impressed with the standard at Dunes, but it was ok. We went for a walk around town and found the tourist office. The lady there was very helpful and booked for us all the different activities we wanted. Then we visited the snakepark. The park is really quite small, but has some interesting snakes. Mostly nice ones, but the black mamba is kind of creepy when since you know a bite from it only leaves you 20 minutes to live. You can also hold a python for a little fee. Well worth a visit if you are in Swakopmund. The house snake and egg eater was also fun to see.
We ate at a restaurant called Napolitana. Excellent food there. The next day the others went sandboarding, and Wulan and me went for the “Living Desert Tour” to see the little five. That is the Shovel-Snouted Lizzard, Peringues’s Adder, Web-footed Palmato Gecko, Namaqua Desert Chameleon and the Dancing White Lady Spider. I we saw all of them and I got pictures of everyone but the White Lady.
Our guide Chris had a fantastic knowledge of the desert. He told all about the ecosystem from the ‘musli’ dry plant residue that gets eaten by the silverfish and insects to the top predator the snakes. From a distant, it doesn’t look like the desert is a place where there is life, but on closer inspection you can see thousands of tracks of little animals and insects. Chris found the animals right under the sand, and took great care not to harm them. In addition to the “little five” we also got a bonus. We found the track and Chris caught a Sand snake. This is the worlds fastest snake, but after a short while it calmed down and I got to hold it too!
The tour ended with a scenic drive through the dunes. It’s really a shame that much of the life in the desert are in danger because of all the illegal 4wd ATW driving. Let’s hope the work in progress to save the Namib will be successful.
Sunday we went for a boat trip out to Pelican Point outside Walvis Bay. The Atlantic ocean had some waves and the sun was shining from a perfect blue sky. On the trip we saw dolphins, the seal colon, pelicans and a lot of other birds. A very nice daytrip.
On Monday Ola, Brita and me went for a paragliding introduction course in the sand dunes before our bus left in the afternoon. It was a nice end to the weekend, but very hot to walk up the dunes!