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Tropic of Capricorn, Flamingos and Swakopmund, Namibia with Nomad Tours – Day 6 & 7

In the dawn, Nicole and I roll up our tent.  This process inevitably soils my hands, arms, and clothes with sand and mud.  I am filthy before the day begins.  Why bother putting on clean clothes?  It’s a hopeless battle.

French Toast for breakfast in the Namibian Desert is a delightful surprise.

Most everyone cooperates in cleaning and packing up and soon we are on our way to Swakopmund, Namibia.

Tropic of Capricorn

Tropic of Capricorn

Mxolisi and me in the Tropic-of-Capricornish area.

On the way we pass the Tropic of Capricorn, which is a marker of latitude in the southern hemisphere.  The Tropic of Cancer is it’s evil twin in the north.

Apparently, it moves about 15 meters a year so the sign is technically incorrect unless that too is moved every year.  Which I doubt.  So, let’s just say we were in the Tropic-of-Capricornish area.

A Lunar Landscape

Further on, the landscape changes dramatically with mountains rising from the desert floor.  On closer inspection, the mountains are made of paper thin layers of mud deposited over millions of years and then somehow turned on the side.

The rocks sound like glass beneath my walking feet.  The area is so mineral rich that everything sparkles silver like a hydrogen glitter bomb has been dropped.  Liberace would have loved it.

Walvis Bay, Namibia

From there it was sand, sand and more sand; like the biggest beach you’ve ever seen, culminating in Walvis Bay, Namibia’s third largest city with 60,000 residents.  It has a gigantic seaport which among other things imports cars from Europe and exports salt from Namibia.  Million dollar homes line the shore, the vacation homes of the lucky in Namibia’s lucrative diamond industry.

We made a stop for lunch and sightseeing.  Here flamingos flock at the marshy shore of the Atlantic.

Swakopmund, Namibia.  German.  Of course.

Flamingos at Walvis Bay

Flamingos at Walvis Bay, Namibia

About 35 kilometers away we arrive in Swakopmund which looks like Germany because it was founded by Germans in 1892.  It is still largely German speaking.

Which is great because over the past six days I simply haven’t had enough of the melodious German language in my ear.  God likes to put Germans in my face like I’m a clown and Germans are the cream pie.  Ha ha, God, ha ha.  Ha.   Ha.       Ha.            Ha.

The streets are oddly wide and mostly desolate.  It looks a bit like a ghost town.  With German ghosts of course.  I’m not particularly moved by this city.

But who cares!?  A guesthouse awaits us.  Real beds!  And showers!  We unload into our rooms like a bunch of gleeful schoolkids away from home for the first time.  That shower is so nice.

Evening comes and we all eat together at an Italian restaurant.  I enjoy a real Italian calzone.  Mmmm.  Afterwards, some of us go to the “club” next door.  Some dance, some drink, and everyone has a good time.

Photos below.

Official Itinerary from Nomad Tours:

After a brief photo stop while crossing the Tropic of Capricorn, we travel onto Namibia’s Atlantic coast and the adventure capital, Swakopmund. Just before we arrive in Swakopmund, we stop at the Walvis bay lagoon en route, where there are often flamingos to be seen. You will be briefed on the many optional activities available here and there is time to explore the town before dinner out at one of the local restaurants.

Founded in 1892 by German settlers, Swakopmund was intended to be the main harbour of German South-West Africa. Increased traffic between Germany and its colony necessitated the establishment of a port of its own, as Walvis Bay, located 33 kilometres south, was in British possession. The choice fell to a site north of the Swakop River where water was readily available. There is a strong German architectural influence in the town, with its Bavarian-style buildings, including the Altes Gefängnis prison, designed by Heinrich Bause in 1909 and the Wörmannhaus, built in 1906 with a prominent tower, now a public library.

The area is called Swakopmund and is formerly known as ‘Tsoakhaub’. This word originated from the Namaqua culture. Directly translated, it means “excrement opening” which is an offensive but accurate description of the waters of the Swakop River when it flooded, carrying masses of mud, sand, vegetation and animal corpses to the Atlantic Ocean. The name was changed to “Swachaub” by German settlers and with the proclamation of Swakopmund as an independent district of German South-West Africa in 1896, the present way of writing Swakopmund (meaning Estuary of the Swakop in German) came into use.

Surrounded by the Namib Desert on three sides and the cold Atlantic waters to the west, Swakopmund enjoys a temperate climate. Rainfall is rare but the cold Benguela current supplies moisture to the area in the form of fog that can reach as deep as 140 km inland. The fauna and flora of the area has adapted to this phenomenon and now relies upon the fog as a source of water. Swakopmund is well known for adventure sports including: skydiving, sandboarding and quadbiking. Your guides will be able to assist you in deciding on a suitable activity, alternatively, spend the day exploring the town and enjoying the various coffee shops and souvenir shops.

Day 7: The whole day is free to relax, explore or partake in one of the many activities available here. Most popular activities are quad biking in the dunes or tandem skydiving. On a clear day’s skydiving you can see all the way to the next day’s destination!
Taking a walk around Swakopmund’s shops and having a leisurely lunch is also a great way to spend your day. Optional Activities: Quad biking, sand boarding, sky diving, dinner out etc.

Disclaimer: Nomad Tours offered me a discount in exchange for documentation of the experience.  I have complete freedom to share my thoughts.  All opinions are my own.

Photos of the Day:

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