Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Namibian Adventure

Greetings from the Cape

    While in South Africa, I have had a desire to venture out into another country located in Southern Africa. While doing some research about the surrounding countries, I came across Namibia.

     So, a group of four of my roommates and I (one other American, one German, one New Zealander, and one brave Swiss woman who traveled with us four men) road-tripped it to Namibia. We have all decided that there could not have been a better group to share this experience with. Thank you to Sam, Miles, Ben "Wild Card" Hameen, and Annina for making the most of this experience that will stay with me forever.

     It is fairly easy to venture to Namibia from Cape Town, and the ride is absolutely amazing. Namibia is a vast desert country, and when I say "vast" I mean "VAST". When you travel along the coast of South Africa and Namibia you begin to realize just how big Africa really is. Additionally, Namibia has one of the lowest density populations in all of Africa, coming in second to West Sahara with 2.2 people for every Square Kilometer. It took us two days to travel from Cape Town to our northern most stop in Namibia.

    Together, my roommates and I rented a car and road-tripped it along the B1 highway for most of the trip. The first night that we had to find rest, we stopped of at  the Vastrap Guest House in Grunau. This was a traditional Afrikaner guest house that was literally in the middle of no where. We had a free dinner under a detailed Milky Way that was not tarnished by light pollution, but illuminated by the darkness of night. We rested in the lodge, and then continued our adventure north in morning.

     Our second stop was at the Sossusvlei Campsite, where we had a nice facility and oasis pool in the middle of the Namib Desert. Sossus meaning "dead, or no return" and vlei meaning "marsh," together Sossusvlei means "dead marsh." Sossusvlei looks like an extremely dried out lake bed, but it is surrounded by dunes that are close to 400 meters high. It was an incredible sight, and great experience to hike up these massive dunes. Additionally, Namibia receives anywhere from 0 to 500mm of water a year. It just so happened that we were able to feel a downpour on one of the only days it will rain in Namibia this year. It was a great and rare occasion.

     Our final stop for the night before heading back to Cape Town was a stay at the Felix Unite Resort, located on the South Africa/Namibia Orange River Border. We were able to camp at a nice outdoor facility, and then in the morning morning we went to wade in the Orange River. Then we hit the road until we saw the outline of Table Mountain, then we knew we were home.

      This was an absolutely amazing trip, and I am still shocked at how inexpensive it was to participate in this adventure. Thank you to the people of Namibia for your kindness and hospitality, and thank you to my fellow Namibian adventurers. Again, from my previous post I want to encourage other students to research different international opportunities that exist or can be created. There is no better time than now.

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