I woke up to the sound of the flight attendant telling the passengers to buckle and exercise some patience while the plane landed in Windhoek. I was flying business class with Air Namibia and the minute I buckled into my seat at 11:35 pm, I slept off. Plans to fully enjoy the in-flight travel experience flew out the window the minute my exhausted body hit the plush business class seats. The flight time from Lagos to Windhoek was just about five hours, nearly the same time it took for me to get from my office in Surulere to the international airport. #LagosTrafficStruggles.
I travelled with a small group of travel friends for the Windhoek Jazz Festival in early November and got to experience a small bit of what the city had to offer. Our time was quite limited in Windhoek but the standout experience for me was falling in love with an acapella group called The Soil at the festival. I reckon people that follow my ZeeGoes account on Instagram and YouTube are probably tired of my ‘The Soil experience’, but definitely look them up if the idea of acapella soulful music sounds good to you. I also got to meet a few people from the Himba tribe selling hand-made trinkets outside the hotel we were staying at, Avani.
The Himba are a group of nomadic people that live mostly in the northern part of Namibia. To paint a better picture, plainly, the women are popularly known for having their top body nude with dreadlock-like hair wound in deep orange ochre. The experience of seeing them, absolutely comfortable in the nudity of their skin, was awe-inspiring.
Besides the Windhoek Jazz Festival, I was counting down to the minute we got into Swakopmund. Mofe, the founder of Naija Nomads, another travel adventure seeker had wound me up about skydiving over the Skeleton Coast of the Namib Desert. It was going to be her first time jumping out of a plane, and my third. Adrenaline-fueled experience? Sign me up!
The minute we checked into our lush hotel, Swakopmund Hotel, our small group rushed off to ride over and around the dunes of the Namib Desert with Namibia Desert Explorer, and later toasted to future travel adventures over the beautiful moonlike terrain of the Moon Landscape. From there, we went to food lovers heaven at Hafeni’s Traditional Restaurant were we dove into healthy servings of matangaras (tripe stewed dish), marathon chicken, omahangu (paste-like millet, aka oshifima), ombidi (spinach) and loads more. The same way we eat local Nigerian food, Namibians also eat their traditional food with their hands.
The next day, most of our friends went back to Windhoek while Mofe and I decided to stay behind for some adrenaline-fueled activities, as well as explore bits of Swakopmund at a leisurely pace. After making sure our skydiving and Namib Desert quad bike adventures were booked, we went beyond the comfortable space of our hotel to walk the beach path of Swakopmund.
I learned a lot about the history of Namibia from a couple of local guitarists strumming out tunes to make a living in the affluent part of the city. As Nigerian travellers, it was a bit jarring to walk around the downtown area of Swakopmund and see only a handful of other Africans in an African city. Instead, the neighbourhood had a hard to miss the number of local Germans that call the area home and a handful of Namibians working in the service roles or playing music to earn a living on the street.
Namibia was colonized a number of times but the most notable and still noticeable are the Germans. A lot of the business owners in the affluent areas are of German heritage. Only one restaurant in the entire downtown Swakopmund area is owned by a Namibian, Olupale, and even that was opened this year, 2018. If you do ever decide to visit and want to try something very different, ask for the mopane worms, so delicious in their pepper sauce!
Beyond the socio-political layer of the city, Swakopmund is a haven for my fellow adrenaline junkies. The next morning, Mofe and I were picked up by Ground Rush skydiving company and got to soar over the picturesque Namib Desert. Soaring over the view of where the Atlantic Ocean meets the desert is a bucket list worthy experience many should take on. After checking that amazing experience off our list, we were dropped off at our hotel in time to get picked up by the folks from Namibia Desert Explorers for a 3-hour long adventure of quad biking through the desert and sand boarding down a massive dune.
Quick Tip: If you do book this experience with this company, ask your desert tour guide to allow some time for you to sit at an overlooking point to relax and watch the ocean continuously wash over the desert. Make sure to pack some picnic-worthy grub in a backpack. Also if you want to sandboard down the dunes, hold extra cash to tip the tour guide and have him pick you up at the base of the dune. It is a seriously difficult work out walking up a mountain of sinking sand.
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