Thursday, February 4, 2016

Swakopmund, Namibia, Part 2: Sand Dune Adventures and Walvis Bay!

Part 2 of our Swakopmund adventures continue!  

Cliffnotes of the Day:
  • Just outside the city of Swakopmund are tons of crazy-looking sand dunes - Jess and I signed up for an ATV/sandboarding tour for the morning!  We each got an ATV and a personal guide; then were let loose on the sand dunes.

You seriously drive 5 minutes out of town - and this is the view!

Driving over the dunes was nutso - we would zoom up the side of a mountain, arc in a C, and then rocket down super fast. For some reason, I kept visualizing pulling an Ozzy Osbourne. You know, because he had that terrible ATV accident where he flipped it and broke his neck.  YOU KNOW

Jess wanted to pretend to be doing cool tricks on his ATV

Pano of the dunes. Such crazy landscape. Some parts were also scary because the sand was really loose - and then some parts, the sand was pretty firm. You had to make sure to drive over the firm parts only

We saw another group ATVing in the distance

  • Then came sandboarding fun!  It was literally just a piece of particle board that our guide greased up with shoe wax. Then you had to grab on the front and zoom down face first. These photos don't do the experience justice - the dune was HUGE and looking down face first on a piece of particle board was not the safest-feeling thing I've done. 

And I made Jesse go first

Weeeeeeee.  I maybe screamed like a dying animal the entire way down

And then we had a race. I think it's pretty clear who the winner was

For the grand finale, Jess and I squished onto the same piece of particle board. It looks like we're totally just relaxing, but it was the most terrifying

  • Sandboarding and ATV-ing were ridiculous amounts of fun - and confession, my favorite part was maybe that we didn't have to walk our way back up to the top of the dune every time we sandboarded (which you have to do for a couple of the companies).  Our guide would just ATV us up to the top. Amazing. Though I also ate about half the desert.

Later that afternoon, I went to go chill at the beach. I even bought a trashy South African Cosmo to read on the beach = perfect.

The perfect sunset location

For dinner, Jesse came and joined me at a cute little cafe by the ocean. Where they had fresh oysters. I maybe asked for cocktail sauce and the waitress looked at me in horror so I was like "NEVERMIND ONIONS ARE GREEEAT"

  • Next day, Jess and I drove down to the nearby city of Walvis Bay - it's only about 30km south of Swakopmund, and it's got its own little cute port/harborside scene happening.  And flamingoes!  It's got tons and tons of flamingoes!

On our drive out to see the flamingoes, we came across the neon purple radioactive-looking water. It's a salt pool - this area produces about 90% of South Africa's salt.

And then there they are, in all their majestic pink glory! Flamingoes!

The flamingoes were really far away and very skittish - anytime our car approached anywhere even close to them, they would stalk away in a big hurry. Sissies.

We then tried to drive out to a now-defunct bird park - they had built all these oases in the desert for birds and you used to be able to visit, but they've since closed them for some reason. The lady at the tourist office said we could still drive and visit them though, though it would involve some creative driving. And this is what happened when we tried to off-road - JESSE got our truck bogged in the sand. We subsequently spent the next hour digging the truck out with our frying pan.

But Jesse still walked to the oasis and terrified all the flamingoes

  • After a full day in Walvis Bay by the water (there's all these adorable harbour-side restaurants where you can watch the seals swim), we headed back up to Swakopmund. My favorite part of the drive is that there's all this new super-fancy housing being built along the coast - people clearly use this area as a place for a vacation home, and some of these places were SO FANCE. I may have veered us off the road numerous times to go look at some of them.

Ummmm hello, super fancy Namibian beach homes

I could def stand to live in a couple of these

The creepiest thing is that there's huge neighborhoods of these brand-new fancy houses, but since they're vacay homes (or maybe bc they're super-duper new), the neighbs are completely empty. It's a little eerie. There's seriously nobody around at all.

Arriving back in Swakopmund, I maybe maybe us go watch another beachside sunset (I LOVE SUNSETS DON'T HATE)

Watching the sunset from the pier

It's amazing, how one can never tire of sunsets. By "one", I mean "I"

Goodnight, Swakopmund!  We've loved you!!

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