1 car… 3 adults…5 kids.. That’s all it took for my family road trip to get underway. I have always wanted to take a road trip with my family, having traveled extensively by myself I really had no expectations for this trip. I was a little scared that it will not go off according to plan, with 5 kids( 4 of them under the age of 10) I
knew it was going to be a challenge traveling with all of them. The one year old basically needed us to have everything of hers, diapers, food, milk, car seat, constant attention and not to mention all her bottles and milton, the 4 year old needed constant coddling and the twin 8 year olds needed a referee to keep them from killing each other every 5 minutes.
I am getting a bit ahead of myself, let me back up and start from the very beginning. We started off in Lobatse, Botswana and our final Destination was Swakopmund, Namibia( approximately a 1700 km drive through 2 very beautiful countries) and we planned to make the drive in 2 days, with a layover in Gobabis Namibia which is about 100km from the Namibian border. The plan was to try and make it into Namibia the first day so that we would not have to travel too long the following day and we could enjoy the last remnants of daylight in Swakopmund. We left Lobatse at 5 am on the 19th of December, driving through the beauty that is Botswana, the sky was clear and blue, and what makes this road special is that after you pass Jwaneng you get to experience driving along a high way with wild animals gracefully gracing on the banks of the road since the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is along that road. You can spot different animals from horses, cattle, warthog to Ostriches, Springboks, Foxes, Elephants and
if you are lucky even Lions( though those usually come out during the night and it is advised that you should not drive on this road at night since there are high chances of
accidents because of the animals), this was a treat for the kids as they tried to identify the different animals along the road. Spending the whole day on the road like this meant we had to pack food for breakfast and lunch pit stops and along the whole road there are different rest stops with shades and benches for one to relax, stretch their legs and take bathrooms which is exactly what we did. We got to the border around 6pm and the rush to get through everything as quickly as possible was imperative because there were a lot of people crossing that day, seemed like everyone was on their way to the ocean for their Christmas vacations and the Namibian border
officials were the friendliest and most accommodating border officials I have ever encountered, they made sure to help everyone quickly and sufficiently with a smile on their face the whole time. For the next 2 hours after crossing the border we were awed by the beauty and cleanliness of Namibia, not a rogue plastic bag in sight, the country is beautiful, with mountains and sand dunes along the sides of the roads, watching the sun set behind beautiful sand dunes was an amazing experience.
After a night spent in Gobabis, driving through the capital of Namibia Windhoek( which is planned beautifully, the buildings cascade down the mountains and sand dunes) and many other cities, we arrived at our destination( Swakopmund, Namibia) at 12 mid day and took the customary tourist picture in front of the welcome sign. Let
me give you a brief introduction of Swakopmund. Sandwiched between Atlantic rollers and the Namib Desert, Swakopmund is one of those great traveler way stations along the African road. At once Namibia’s adventure capital and surreal colonial remnant, part destination in its own right and part launchpad for an exploration of the Skeleton Coast and Namib Desert, this is a city with as much personality as it has sea frontage. Like Lüderitz on the south coast, the half-timbered German architecture, seaside promenandes and the town’s pervasive Gemütlichkeit, a distinctively
German appreciation of comfort and hospitality, Swakopmund, especially out of season, can feel like a holiday town along Germany’s North Sea and Baltic coasts transplanted onto African soil. But the city is also thoroughly African and its multi-dimensional appeal means that most people end up staying longer than they planned.We had just enough time to find out hotel which by the way was in the most convenient and breath taking location. Dolphin Park resort sits midway between Walvis bay and Swakopmund which is perfect because its the midway point between where you can enjoy the beach( Swakopmund) and the huge sand dunes( Walvis Bay).
There is tons of things you could do in Swakopmund, you can take a helicopter tour of the dunes and even sky jump if you are an adrenaline junkie like myself, or if you prefer an on the ground tour you can rent quad bikes and just spend the day cruising up and down the sand dunes or even pay for a camel ride around the dunes if you are brave enough to get on one. If you feel like you have had enough of that you can even take your own 4 whealer and follow the tour guides as they drive along the dunes, going up the dunes in fast speeds( though you need to have experience with driving in the desert otherwise your car might not survive the drive). If you get tired of the scotching heat of the desert you can go and spend a day at the beach swimming in the beautiful Atlantic ocean, Surrounded by the Namib Desert on three sides and the cold Atlantic waters to the west, Swakopmund enjoys a mild desert climate (BWn, according to the Köppen climate classification). The average temperature ranges between 15 °C (59 °F) to 25 °C (77 °F). Rainfall is less than 20 mm per year, making gutters and drainpipes on buildings a rarity. The cold Benguela current supplies moisture for the area in the form of fog that can reach as deep as 140 km (87 mi) inland. Fogs that originate offshore from the collision of the cold Benguela Current and warm air from the Hadley Cell create a fog belt that frequently envelops parts of the Namib desert. If you love surfing then the Swakop Atlantic ocean is the perfect place for you to surf in Africa, historically the rest of the surfing world has overlooked the country’s 1,572 km of daunting coastline.
But in 2008 an expedition by an American surfing magazine changed all this when it revealed a wave peeling for two kilometres along the edge of the Namib Desert. The wave, dubbed Skeleton Bay, was so perfect and cylindrical it allowed surfers to ride deep inside the curl from start to finish.
Word of this phenomenon quickly spread across the globe and today the tubes of Skeleton Bay are as coveted as the diamonds that wash up along Namibia’s shores. Well, by surfers at least, who jet in from as far afield as Hawaii and Australia to pit themselves against the never-ending wall of water.
However, contrary to popular belief, Skeleton Bay was surfed long before 2008. In fact, a group of Namibian diamond divers used to ride it on their windsurfers back in the 1980s. So you can be sure you will catch the best waves in Swakop. The trip was an absolute adventure and the kids had the best time especially since it was their first time to see an Ocean and the desert, 2 birds, 1 stone. And as we were headed back on the long drive back after a week all they could talk about was swimming in the Ocean, riding Camels and quad bikes, and driving through the country in grannie’s car. Not only did they get to experience all of these, they also got to see their first sun rise as we were headed back to Lobatse.
Namibia is definitely one of the best places I have been, the people are beautiful and friendly, the food is delicious, the police love foreigners and they are very welcoming and treat everyone with the utmost respect, the scenery is out of this world and leaves you in awe and there is more than enough to do for all the time that you are there so you would never be bored. If you are the type of person who loves partying, this is the number one party spot, there is nothing like a Bon fire party on the beach and there are lots of night clubs and bars as well as casinos for all your pleasures.