Travels with V


Travels with V



A city we left with no tears


More and more travellers discover Namibia,  Southern Africa’s great desert country. The magnificent and ever-changing nature is one reason, the wildlife another, low costs of living a third. And we’d like to add a fourth – the people. A poor and hardened people who are always open and friendly, curious and gifted with humour. A laugh is never far away.

Namibia is next door neighbour to South Africa, and the two are so close that the Namibia dollar is tied to the SA rand. And South Africa took control of Namibia and refused to let it go for 70 years. Finally in 1990 independence was declared, after pressure from the international community and a cruel liberation war. But the young country is struggling with poverty and inequality. Flying over it you see deserts everywhere, unfit for farming. And most of the year the rivers are dry. Namibia is the most sparsly populated country in all Africa.

Windhoek, the capital has a shining new business centre with flashy banks and company HQ:s. A few hotels are also climbing high in the sky. But the rest of the city is a worn and soulless story and one we absolutely do not miss when we leave. 

There are a few of places of interest to visit in Windhoek, the one most often described is a church, ”Christuskirche” (”Christ church”) seen in the picture above. We never got the chance to see its insides, but very close nearby is the  ”Independence Memorial Museum”, in a funky building paid for by North Korea. Its mission is to teach new generations about the struggle for independence, first from colonial Germany and after that from apartheid South Africa.  The exhibition is in a classic heroic form displaying the revolt leader Sam Nujouma in a social realistic way. 

We stay for one day in Windhoek, partly to see Veikko, who despite his very Finnish name is a born Namibian, from the Ovambo people. Veikko is telling us about his friend and mentor, the Swedish photographer Per Sandén who often visited Namibia during the independence war, and documented SWAPO, the independence movement in photos and on film . Unfortunately Per  Sandén recently died and his huge document collection (among it over 200 hours of film) that was meant to be displayed in its own museum is still in storage. Veikko has some formal stewardship over it, but there’s nothing he can do. The museum is built but it hasn’t opened in ten years. And not much suggests that it will open any time soon.


Our other reason for staying in Windhoek is to rent a car. There is no other practical way to get around in Namibia. And we need a 4 wheel drive, because of the bad conditions of the smaller roads. Which is quite a lot of the roads as we will learn. 

And when all papers are signed we drive as fast as we are allowed out of Windhoek. We drive north along the most busy road in the country, running from Cape Town up to northern Namibia and Angola. The sun is shining from a blue sky and there’s very little traffic. It’s our second day in Namibia and we’re on our way! 


Top5 in Namibia:

  1. See:  Sossusvlei, with the world’s highest and most magnificent sand dunes. And going there, drop in at Solitaire. Planning a Safari? Etosha is a must. Swakopmund for it’s classy cafés and restaurants.
  2. Stay: Three lodges we recommend are Emanya by Etosha, Grootberg Lodge for its spectacular views, and Sossusvlei Lodge for reasonably priced luxury. 
  3. Cities: Not Windhoek, no sir.  Swakopmund and its neighbour Walvis Bay are nice and friendly, but very western. For a more genuine African experience vist  Omaruru.
  4. Eat: In Henties Bay we had lovely fresh fish at Fishy Corner, and the same can be said about The Fish Deli in Swakopmund. The lodges mentioned also have great food.
  5. Travel: unfortunately a car is the only real option, and if you want to experience the whole country a 4wd is a must. Fuel is really cheap, half the price we pay in Europe. 
Resebloggar finns det gott om men vi har en lite annan tanke med våra berättelser. Vi vill främst beskriva våra upplevelser av udda platser, människorna vi möter och miljöer som är rätt annorlunda mot vad vi möter hemma.

Därför hamnar vi ibland i avlägsna indianbyar i Guatemalas berg eller bland andetroende bybor på en ö i Indonesien. Men också på mer kända platser som Machu Picchu i Peru eller sandstränderna i Goa. Allt sett genom våra ögon och kameror.

Den som vill ha restips får också sitt - varje resmål har en avdelning med sånt vi kan rekommendera. Eller undvika. Vårt fokus är framför allt att sporra er läsare att göra som vi - resa rätt ut i den vida världen.