24th January 2016 Walvis Bay - Namibia
Tip: I had booked our 4 wheel drive tour online. After searching per google I had come up with this company "Sandwich Harbour 4 wheel dune tour specialist". It was a fantastic tour.
Flights from Walvis Bay to Johannesburg. I booked these flights through Expedia online. After googling to find transport from Walvis Bay to Windhoek I discovered that Walvis Bay also had an airport and there was only an 18€ price difference to fly from Walvis Bay via Windhoek rather than drive to Windhoek and from there to johannesburg. The drive would have taken approx. 4,5 hours and been more expensive and tiresome. The cost of the flights with Air Nambia was approx. 68€ per person. This was a good deal. Unfortunately on arrival at Walvis Bay airport our flight had been cancelled. Air Namibia made no problem out on the situation. They booked us on the next direct flight (3 hours later) to Johannesburg.
After an early arrival in Walvis Bay (approx.7.0 am,) we took a taxi to the 4 x wheel drive centre in Sandwich Harbour. There were 6 people on our jeep tour.
Walvis Bay - we are in the Namib Desert.
Our first stop was the Lagoon in Sandwich Harbour where we were able to view Flamingos.
Our guide Hermann explained the difference between the normal Flamingo and lesser Flamingo. The lesser Flamingo is approx. 100 cm in length and a deep rose-pink colour. Gathering by the hundreds of thousands on shimmering salt lakes, the lesser Flamingo creates some of the most dramatic wildlife spectacles in Africa, especially when they all fly at once or perform synchronised courtships displays.
Hermann then drove us on to a local salt mine and explained about the various qualities in salt.
Salt mining is an important income for this area.
From here we drove along the beach where the Atlantic flows parallel to the Namib Desert and dunes. The Namib Desert is the oldest desert in the world. This vast wilderness arches up the Atlantic coast from Luederitz to Swakopmund. What makes it spectacular are the knife edged copper dunes of Sossusvlei and the ancient banded mountains of the Naukluft range.
Our beach stop was intersting because it was fishing season the for locals.
I got into conversation with a young man who I saw putting a huge fish back into the water. He explained that they were now catching for the fun of fishing as they already had their two fish and would be fined if they took more. They are only allowed to take home two fish per person per day. However, these fish can weigh up to 15 kilos and more! The fish I saw him put back into the ocean weighed 8.5 kilos! It was Kabeljau.
He was proud to tell me that his heaviest fish last season had weighed 15 Kg.
The weather was fantastic, approx. 28 degrees centigrade with a light breeze. Afte this stop we made our way to one of the highest dunes in the area. It was 350 meters high and we went to the top. Hermann drove our jeep twining round up and down the dunes. We held on tightly feeling we had booked a fun fair tour and not a desert tour. Up and down, round and round. Some faces started turning GREEN. It was quite an adventure. When we finally reached the dune which was to be our destination Hemann took a winding climb up in the jeep. Slowly but surely we made our ascend. Hermann did not want to climb the last 40 meters in the jeep because he did not want to damage the dune so we climbed the final ascend on foot.Thank goodness there was a slight breeze. The 40 meters felt like 140! Peter and I had very good hiking boots on and were able to get a good grip. Some members of the party only had summer footwear and consequently sank into the sand and were unable to climb the steep dune as easily as we were. We were rewarded at the top by a fantastic view. The tour back was just as adventurous. On reaching the beach Hermann stopped the jeep, put a table cloth ove the bonnet of the jeep and set up a buffet and drinks!
On return to the 4 wheel drive centre Peter and I had to leave quite fast as our taxi driver was waiting to take up to Walvis Bay airport for our flight via Windhoek to Johannesburg.
Our hotel in Johannesburg was really good value for money. The Mercure which I had booked via www.booking.com.Good room and a swimming pool to cool of in. A double room with all amenities for approx. 60€ per night for the room.