Roadtrip in the Namibian Desert
In September I went back to South Africa, mainly to visit friends and with the plan in mind to maybe also see some new parts of the country. I spent the first few days in Cape Town with a friend and didn’t have a fixed plan for the second week (luckily!). On my third day in CT I got a message on Couchsurfing from an Argentinian guy asking me whether I wanna join him and his brother on a roadtrip through Namibia. Thought about it for a while and just decided to go for it. We had to change our plans last minute but somehow it all worked out and I started one of the most spontaneous actions of my life..
Cape Town - Windhoek
We decided to not rent a car from Cape Town on since it would’ve been super expensive and took the bus instead. Let’s be honest, I wasn’t overly excited to spend 23h in a bus haha. So Sunday morning at nine, Facundo, Felipe and I met at the bus stop in Cape Town. The first few hours passed quickly and I was quite happy bout my roadtrip snacks lol. Around 9.30 p.m we reached the South African – Namibian border and could continue after a while. I fell asleep soon after that and astonishingly almost slept the whole night. Just remember to ALWAYS take an extra jacket & scarf in the bus – it’s seriously cold af when they turn the aircon on.
We finally reached Windhoek at about 8 in the morning.
Windhoek - Sesriem
In Windhoek we got the car and picked up Mandy who went with us. We quickly went grocery shopping, got some ice-cream and went off in the desert. About 20min. outside of Windhoek the tarred road ends and it’s simply dirt roads for the rest of the drive. One thing that really fascinated me about Namibia was the diverse nature & environment, changing from mountains and stones to dunes and sand to the sea in the north. After about 3 hours we stopped at a mountain pass to have some snacks and to enjoy the incredible view over the valley. After another 3h we reached our campsite for the night.
After checking in to the camp we quickly got some beers and went to Elim Dune. It’s just about 10min. outside the camp and so beautiful for watching the sunset. We didn’t walk all the way to the top, until the point we went it took as about 15min. Up there we just watched the sun setting and the sky turning red and blue and enjoyed our cold beers. When it got dark we went back into the camp and cooked some well-deserved pasta. After dinner we grabbed some beers with a few other guys.
Somehow the night was shorter than expected for Mandy & me, we went to sleep at 1 a.m and had to be up at five. But it was quite cold outside so we got up fast and were almost gone, just stopped to get water. Big mistake cause then the car wouldn’t turn on anymore – jackpot at six in the morning! After a few unsuccessful attempts we now know that some automatic cars only start in Neutral mode, lesson learned. Due to that we were a bit late for the actual sunrise but still got super nice vibes on the way. We drove to Dune 47 and climbed it about halfway. Wise decision cause then we saved some much needed energy for the rest of the day.
After watching the sunrise we had some breakfast on the go and drove further towards the Sossuvlei. The last five kilometres are only accessible via deep sand and since we all aren’t that experienced in driving there we decided to go with a shuttle instead of getting stuck ourselves. At first we went into the Deadvlei to see the old trees and unfortunately also huge groups of people walking there. We weren’t too sure whether we should climb “Big Daddy” (the highest dune in the world) but decided to just give it a try. I probably sweated more than ever in my whole life and it was definitely a fight at some points but totally worth it. When we arrived at the top I think I was more happy bout the water we carried than ever before – about 40°C + climbing the dune is not as easy as it seems haha. The way back down was super fun, we just ran straight down.
On our way back down from the dune we saw that we were basically almost the only ones around. It got even hotter and most of the people made their way back earlier. We drove back to our campsite to just chill a bit and then Mandy & I went to Sesriem Canyon. Such a cool place and luckily we got there just before sunset. We walked around in the canyon for a while, learned more about the monkeys living there, saw a snake and enjoyed the sun. After that we sat outside on some rocks to watch the sunset and a huge group of apes taking over the whole place.
After sunset we drove back to our camp, had some dinner and a few drinks.
Sesriem - Windhoek
We didn’t plan a certain time to get up on our last day but I somehow woke up just before seven. I was the only one of us awake but it was so worth it, there was such a beautiful sunrise with fog! Mandy & I ate some breakfast and had coffee with some other guys. It was a really chilled morning until we wanted to start and the car wouldn’t turn on again – battery this time. Luckily it happened on the campsite so some guys helped us and we now know a bit more about dirty car batteries haha. So we started our way back a bit later than expected but still had a good drive to Windhoek. In Windhoek Facundo & Felipe went somewhere else and Mandy and I spent the night together, first on a sky bar and later we went to some other bars until the next morning.
Nothing on this trip was really planned, we didn’t know each other before and it was all super spontaneous but still or maybe that’s exactly why it was so cool! Thanks to everyone for the rad time! Definitely wanna go back to Namibia one day.