About a month ago, I was able to take a week off work to go on a road trip through Namibia. My trusty co-adventurers included my housemate Kyle, my dear friend Mmamohau, her comrade Mandisa, and another American, Alison. Our road trip started strong with some Coldplay and Matt Kearney jams, aubergine pâté, and a luxurious first night at Ai-Ais hot springs resort. However, our timing was not ideal since several of my fellow Connect-123 interns left for home during our trip. Before we left, they indignantly joked, “Why would you choose Namibia over us? It’s just a bunch of sand!”
Our strong start unfortunately did not last long. We quickly noticed that there was a scarcity of petrol stations. The majority of time on our second, third, and fourth day was spent rather slowly as we carefully took on one gravel ‘highway’ after another. At one low, low, low point we realized that we had only driven 20km in an hour—20 kilometers, not miles. Nevertheless, we persevered through the tough times with games and entirely too much Matt Kearney.
After driving one day, we decided that we could carry on no further and stopped for the night at an accommodation in the middle of the desert. We were desperate and slightly low on petrol, so we said we would take whatever rooms they had available. My friend Alison and I got stuck in a couple’s room, which wasn’t an issue except for the fact that there was not wall in between the bedroom and the bathroom. We recovered by making s’mores outside on the campfire whenever one of us needed some privacy.
Although we had some rough patches, the encounters we had with nature in Namibia made the trip entirely worthwhile. Highlights of our trip include a hike up Dune 45 in Sossusvlei (one of the highest sand dunes in the world), a glimpse at Deadvlei (a petrified forest in the desert), Fish River Canyon (the world’s second largest caynon), a camel ride through the desert, a tour of a ghost town (with houses covered in sand), wild animal sightings everywhere (including horses, antelope, zebra, and warthogs), and a drive by Orange River.
The entire trip I was craving a braai (South African cookout), and I finally had my wish granted on the last night. Our last accommodation was on a farm called the White House, which we thought was too ironic to pass up. Unfortunately, it was basically the opposite style of our first lodging. The rustic nature of the White House was exasperated by Mmamohau and my illnesses. When we returned home, Mmamohau learned that she had bronchitis and I had food poisoning or the equivalent. This lead to a slightly rocky ending, but jolly camaraderie and Lord of the Rings themed accommodation in Windhoek (called Rivendell) made food poisening slightly less painful.
In the end, I decided that if I ever consider marriage with a life partner, then we must go on a road trip to Transkei or Namibia to test our love and see magnificent landscape.