Hoodia Desert Lodge - Swakopmund
We are quite slow leaving Hoodia Desert Lodge. We just don’t want to say goodbye. ‘Maman’ and her daughter are having breakfast in complete silence. Birgit and Micheal also hit the road today, they have another car, and we wish them a wonderful trip without car trouble. We joke about meeting eachother again on the way. Who knows?
The owners of Hoodia Lodge are away, but the lodge is in perfect hands with the staff. Carina does the check-out and we have a little chat. I tell her we’ll come back even when we are old grannies and need a walking stick. She laughs.
And then it’s really time to turn on the engine of our car and drive away on the long road towards the gate. We stop after a short distance to take a last picture. We will never forget this special place and the friendly people. Our next destination is Swakopmund, a town by the cold Atlantic ocean. The contrast couldn’t be bigger with the heat of the desert. We take our time for the journey today and have a first stop in Solitaire. Not even a town. It’s more like a petrol station surrounded by a bakery, a café and a bunch of car wrecks in the sand. “Welcome to Solitaire” a sign states. It’s a good place to get some petrol, so we take a refill of diesel for our ‘bus’ and they check the tires. Solitaire is also famous for it’s apple pie. Yes, here in this solitary place in the desert there actually is a German bakery and plenty of people are enjoying coffee or tea with pie. We buy some apple pie for the road. We ask for one piece and actually it’s a huge chunck.
Leaving Solitaire we are on the gravel roads for a long long time. We pass the Tropic of Capricorn, marked by a large sign with tourist graffiti. We just have to stop for a photo. Another car pulls over so we conveniently photograph eachother. Yes, it’s a touristy thing to do, but honestly, it’s just one of those things you have to do. No pick nick place around here on these roads, so we have an apple crumble lunch in our car. We eat the chunck with our fingers and it’s delicious!!
The side of the road is no place to stand still for a long time, so soon we hit the road again and drive through beautiful landscapes like the Kuiseb Canyon. We spot a few ostrich and an orynx who runs beside our car.
Coming closer to Walvisbaai we are on tarred road and we discover we don’t like tarred roads anymore. At first sight Walvisbaai looks like a somewhat industrialised area, with large oil platforms along the coast. It’s another 30 km to Swakopmund, our new home for two nights. It’s an old German town and indeed it doesn’t feel African at all as we drive into the center with the clean streets and more Western buildings. Intermezzo guesthouse is just outside the center and we are welcomed by the lady of the house who is wearing a thick fleece. “Oh, aren’t you cold?!” she asks, seeing my t-shirt as I step out of the car. It definitly is a different climate in Swakopmund, but it’s a sunny day so it’s not too bad. We get a very spacious room, but we miss the desert and the lodge. It’s late afternoon, so we sit out on the terrace for a while untill the sun goes down. Again, we are not advised to walk into town but to take the car and drive to a parking right in front of the restaurant. It’s Italian dinner this evening on a special location: resto 22 South is set in an old light house. As we drive through the dark streets on this Saturday evening, Swakopmund feels like a ghost town. There’s no one!! We easily spot the light house and park nearby. There’s a guy eagerly waiting to watch the car (there’s just no way to say no, they wear a fluo jacket and you give them a few Namibian dollars in return). We enjoy our dinner and yes, there are some other dinner guests. The town isn’t completely deserted. The car is still there after dinner and we aren’t attacked in the dark. Bad things can always happen, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s not just a case of white people creating an atmosphere of anxiety. Our guesthouse lady states she’d never go to Windhoek. Peculiar ...