We arrived in Swakopmund, Namibia from Johannesburg one sunny afternoon in February last year (2018), which is the middle of summer in most Southern African countries, and were taken aback by the simplicity and beauty of this small town. The German colonial influence is strongly present in the city centre to this day from the architecture to restaurants and bars. But make no mistake Swakop, as the locals call it, has a lot to offer, from Safaris, dunes surfing to quad biking, helicopter and more.
Namibia is also home to the Namib desert, the oldest desert in Africa. So our adventure began as we set out to explore the west coast of Namibia on a road trip from Swakopmund to Sossusvlei. A 400km (approx. 5 hours) journey that I am not ready to forget, both for its beauty and the rather bumpy ride.
We were prompt and ready to collect our rental car by 8 am and after a quick check, we were on our way. Now forget what you could have read, using a 2×4 is not a good idea, I live to tell the story as we learned it the hard way. Soon after leaving Swakop we were on a gravel road for about 80% of the road trip, think 40 degrees temperature against the gravel, oh well getting a flat tire was imminent, so it happened about 1 hour.
Luckily, we had a spare but we had to slow down significantly to avoid any other misfortune as there was little to no cellphone coverage, nothing in sight and the closest town called “Solitaire” (funny enough) for another 100km away.
We made it to solitaire safely and were able to purchase a new tire, freshen up, grab some lunch and be on our way. I must say that the beauty of the landscape, stopping at the tropic of Capricorn and the stunning Sesriem canyon more than made up for the drama.
We decided to spend the night at the Desert Quiver Camp about 340km in our journey, as the sun was setting for the most beautiful views and evening barbecue.
We carried on our journey the next morning to Sossusvlei, another 60 km away at the Namib-Naukluft national park, early enough to take in the views of the amazing world-famous dunes and my personal favourite Deadvlei, this amazing white clay pan with its resilient 900 hundred years old trees still standing amidst such arid conditions.
The Namibian west coast is definitely a must see if you fancy the great outdoors and wouldn’t mind a little desert adventure; perhaps this time with a 4×4.