29th of August to the 2nd of September.
In Windhoek we spent a couple of days getting some service and repairs done to Veronica’s truck and getting a few other odd jobs done. One of which was to get a grease nipple on the Landcruiser replaced after I had snapped it off while doing some maintenance. I know how to fix it myself because I was watching as it was done. It’s quite simple, you get a three sided file and grind it down to a point on one end, then tap it in to the broken nipple and simple unscrew the broken bit! Hey presto the new nipple went straight back in and we were off in 10 minutes! Windhoek was a very friendly safe city and we did enjoy our time there but needed to keep going so off to Swakopmund we went. It was a largely boring trip with not a lot of scenery nor any animals so it was just a matter of driving while listening to podcasts. We have really enjoyed listening to podcasts called Conversations with Richard Fidler as we drive along but also listen to other podcasts as well.
We arrived in Swakopmund in the late afternoon and it was quite cold, windy and overcast but looked forward to some sun the next morning. Alas the sun did not appear and apparently rarely does at this time of the year due to the onshore winds coming straight off the Atlantic Ocean.
Swakopmund is like the Gold Coast of Namibia and is where a huge number of German’s come to escape their bad weather. Our first day we drove down to have a look at Walvis Bay which is one of the main ports for Namibia and on the way back dropped in to have a look at a housing estate built right on the beach.
We also went on a long walk around Swakopmund and then spent quite a few hours in their wonderful museum.
That night we had a roast pork on the Weber Baby Q put on by 4.30pm but were then invited next door for a couple of drinks by some Port Elizebeth people, Werner and Patsy and Julian and Shirley. It was a great couple of hours spent chatting and laughing but in the mean time the roast was still cooking so in the end we had to race back to put some vegetables (which are highly overrated!) on and I must say the pork was outstanding. The meat in Africa is first class.🐖🐖🐖
The next morning we had booked in to do a Township Cultural Tour with a bit of trepidation I might add because you just don’t know how commercial these things can be. Pearce picked us up at 10am and we discovered that we were the only ones that day. We first went out to the township called DRC where Pearce explained how it all worked. There are three different areas to the township predominantly made up of three different people. The Himba, The Herero and the Damara and they all come from the North of Namibia but have settled here to seek work. They all get on in great harmony but there is at the moment a 31% unemployment rate which makes it very difficult. There are no unemployment benefits so they have to do anything they can to earn enough money to live on.
We visited a centre called Dantago Communities which helps disadvantaged mothers and their children in all aspects of life such as health, education and crisis management. There is a big problem with gender violence in the community and they are helping lots of women through this. Part of what they do is encourage the young women to make crafts which they sell in order that they can buy personal hygiene products and also just to survive. It was a wonderful place and we really enjoyed our visit.
We also visited a Herero house where we were educated on the difference between Himba and Herero people but in actual fact they are the same people. The Himba base their lives around owning cattle and the more cattle they have the richer they are. However when the Germans settled in Namibia many years ago some of the poorer Himba people chose to work for the Germans as domestic help but in order to do this they had to stop the practise of using red ochre to cover their bodies because it made to much of a mess in the homes they were working in. Furthermore they were also required for modesty to start wearing long flowing dresses with leg of mutton sleeves and once they had committed to this were not allowed to return to the Himba dress. To this day a lot of the Herero people still dress in this style.
Lastly we were taken to a traditional restaurant in the township and given some traditional food of a beef stew with a thick pancake made from Millet flour, white beans cooked and mashed and a dried spinach which was all delicious. While we ate two men and a woman who were part of a 9 member Archipelago Choir sang some beautiful songs and at the end we bought their CD to play in the car as we travel along! It was very educational and yet a lot of fun too and we were so happy we did the tour. Next we start heading even further North towards the Angolan border.