Walvis Bay & Swakopmund

We’re here!  Writing this from Desert Sky Backpackers in Swakopmund just north of Walvis Bay on the coast of Namibia, where there is an attractive though small camping area for campervans and overlanders in pleasant gardens, and two resident dogs, as lazy as lazy can be!

We had a frustrating 6 day wait in Walvis Bay until Betty Buster arrived on the ship, Cosco Tengfei. Walvis is a strange place indeed. Not somewhere you would want to be holed up in a b&b for 6 days, unless your idea of heaven is dinner every night in a shopping mall!  The only decent place we found was a nice little cafe on the waterfront where we idled some hours away watching the seals basking, the flamingos shimmering in the distance, and the pelicans gathering to contemplate and rest their enormous beaks,  but it closed at 3pm every day!

After a final day of waiting in Betty Shilongo’s office at BS Clearing (think Mma Precious Ramotswe of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency) together with half a dozen highly entertaining chaps (patiently awaiting their UK imported cars for onward import to Zambia and Zimbabwe) and several thousand N$ the lighter, we at last took possession of our precious cargo, to be home for the next 5 months, hoorah!

A quick inspection revealed that nothing had been pinched from inside our van, phew!  But Bruce is a bit annoyed with himself for having left a rather vital metal pin in the front bumper which had disappeared. Ah well, c’est la vie.

Although it was fairly late in the day, we made our getaway from Walvis and drove straight up the coast to Swakopmund and booked in to Desert Sky Backpackers which is conveniently located close to the centre.  Not bothering to unpack anything – desperate for a beer as usual – we hot-footed it in to town and were delighted to find several bars/restaurants!  Wow, an actual choice and not just steak house or pizzaria!!  We had the best meal in a week at a seafood restaurant and retired contented to sleep our FIRST NIGHT EVER in Betty Buster!

Luckily for us, and our forthcoming tour, the bed is comfortable!

This is where we will be for a few days because, as some of you know, there are one or two little things to be finished in the van!  Such as ….. the water!  Although Bruce and Tim worked all hours to get the plumbing done before shipping, Bruce didn’t actually have time to finish fitting the pump and test it!  What do you think happened when he turned it all on yesterday?…..  That’s right!  (Hey Timbo – Bruce says it’s all the bits you fitted that are leaking!  As well as all the bits he fitted of course!  As soon as he tightens up one connection, another springs a leak!)

The other finishing touches to be undertaken are less vital.  However, as Bruce discovered when he drove the van out of the port, the button to stop the engine no longer works, which is a pain as it means he has to stall the engine every time he parks – not good.  Despite extensive investigation, he can’t figure it out so we are now looking for a decent Mercedes mechanic!

Swakopmund is entirely different in every way to Walvis Bay.  It is a more attractive town for a start, with a few trees (which Walvis has none whatsoever of) and there are older, more characterful buildings.  There is a centre, with both shops and bars and restaurants – Walvis had streets and streets of shops and offices but you could search all day and not find a place to eat or drink (apart from a small area around the bay, or at the out of town shopping mall).  Swakopmund is much more touristy so we are looking forward to getting everything finished on the van, stocking up with supplies and heading out to discover some real Namibia!

By the way, for those interested in the climate, it is a lovely warm temperature during the day, and very changeable from sunshine to cloud and breezy, cooling off a lot in the evening.  It was incredibly windy when we were right by the sea in Walvis Bay but doesn’t seem so windy here as we are staying a short way in from the front.  To avoid the high winds was one of the reasons we chose to stay at Desert Sky instead of the campsites on the beach.

More anon, hopefully from somewhere further down south.  We must make our way to Sossusvlei before too long in order to get our gas tank filled up.


One thought on “Walvis Bay & Swakopmund

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  1. Brilliant, so pleased to hear you have all arrived safely and have finally taken possession of Betty Buster again (with everything intact… hoorah!). Amazing wildlife (ah), and you are both already looking mightily chilled out!


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