This is a pretty little coastal town just 40 kilometers above Walvis Bay and brims of German colonial buildings. It is a nice setting just to wander through the centre of town and take in all the nice buildings, some perfectly restored and others almost in state of despair.
In the region around Swakopmund there is not only mining for diamond but also many other minerals/crystals. To get a good impression we visited the Kristall Gallery, a small museum and jewellery in one. It has some of the most incredible crystals in the world on display, including the largest quartz crystal that has ever been found, weighing 14.100 kilo. Looking behind it we saw a huge strong steel construction to support the rock for display.
At sunset we went to ‘the Tug’, by locals named as the best restaurant in town. The restaurant is located at the jetty and is housed in an actual tugboat. As the restaurant was fully booked, we ended up in the captain’s bar for some wine and oysters.
Since the weather had changed from 35-40 degrees in Sossusvlei to 15 degrees with a drizzle in Swakopmund we changed our plans and decide to leave the next day… Meaning no second try for Wilfred on sand boarding in the action-packed town of Namibia (quite equal to Queenstown in New Zeeland).
Omandumba, Omaruru and Brandberg
In Omandumba we stayed at a campsite in the Erongo Conservatory run by the local San people. While driving very close to the campsite we are pleased with a sighting of a giraffe, very close to the road. Wilfred absolutely loved the place; stating this is the prettiest site we camped at. There was only one place, meaning no neighbours at all (except for the San families on the other side of the large rock) giving a feeling that the campsite reached from where we were to the mountain range on the horizon. In the evening we noticed lots of baboons and remembering how aggressive they can be…we prepare our water pistol. Fortunately the baboons don’t come to the campsite and we have an undisturbed diner and breakfast.
The San families also operate a ‘Living Museum’, which provides an excellent opportunity to interact with them and learn more about their history. We did a short tour of the village were we learned how they make: ropes of a plant called ‘Gemsbok horn’, jewellery of ostrich egg shells, traps for guineafowls and bokkies and fire (without matches)…and yes even Wilfred learned form that!
When we left the campsite in Omandumba towards Omaruru Wilfred saw a pamphlet of the region and read that white and black rhino were also living in the conservatory and could have crossed our path... Some things are better to learn afterwards, as the campsite was unfenced and we also hiked up the boulders to watch the sunset!
In Omaruru we visited one of the four wineries that Namibia has, Kristall Kellerie. They only produce two wines; one white and one red one, and next to that they produce different snapps, brandy and even gin. We did a tasting combined with a “local & lekker” plate, with local meats, such a kudu, springbok and zebra.
The next two nights we spent near Brandberg (Fire Mountain) on a campsite in the dry river bedding. Brandberg gets it’s name from the colouring of the massive pink granite during sunset, which resembles a fire. The summit is the highest peak of Namibia. The region is also well known for the Desert Elephant (a sub species that is supposed to have bigger feet to move easier through the desert). We learned that the elephants are quite far from the camp at the moment and decide to take it easy a read a book in the quietness of the campsite.
Erindi Private Game Reserve
In the Tug in Swakopmund we met a SA couple that was so enthusiastic about the Old Travellers lodge in the Erindi private game reserve that we decided to see if we could celebrate our wedding anniversary there and splurge a little. We booked ourselves in a luxury suite with full board and 2 game drives.
We did two game drives and were very lucky to see two male lions, two cheetah with a kill (probably impala), seven white rhinos, lots of different antelopes, giraffe, honey badger, many more. From the viewing deck that overlooks the dam we saw zebra’s drinking, hippo’s and even many African wild dogs (including puppy’s) and a brown hyena feeding on a carcas. Some of these animals we have on picture and others are in our memory forever. All in all a very lovely way to celebrate our anniversary!