After our long drive through the mostly boring desert, we got into town around 2:30pm, parked the car in the secure parking area at the hotel and relaxed for a couple hours in our room (#2) at the Desert Sands Boutique B&B. Notably this was our first reliable wifi of the trip so far, so our phones went crazy backing things up.
For our first night we had a one bedroom unit with a small kitchen and a good sized living space. The only thing that would have made it better was laundry facilities. There was a laundry service available but I couldn’t get a straight answer from the front desk staff about how much the washing would cost (it was based on weight) so we decided to skip it.
Around 5:30pm we headed out on foot to a bar – Bar Zonder Naam. Eric tried the ‘Long Claw’ (citra dry hopped saison) and I got the ‘Black Mist” (black ale). Both were from Darling Brewery in South Africa. Wine prices also looked reasonable so we got a second round – Eric a sauvignon blanc and me a sparkling.
I had tried calling Gabriele’s Italian Pizzeria to make a reservation but never got through so we decided to walk over and hope for the best. Thankfully there was a table open and we enjoyed a spicy pizza and the boisterous atmosphere.
While the town is very walkable and seemed safe enough, there weren’t many people around after dark and the streets are wide and not well-lit.
The morning of our flight to Cape Town, we wandered over to the Bäckerei Przybylski bakery to grab some pastries and made coffee in the room. It was incredibly misty and cool in town and I was glad we had decided to skip the early morning kayak trip.
With a few hours to kill we decided to visit the Moon Landscape before heading to the airport. The bridge leading out of town was out so we had to figure out a detour on the fly via Nelson Mandela Ave. Thankfully the mist cleared up a bit as we headed inland so we were able to get some nice photos of the rugged landscape.
On our way back through town we stopped at Two Beards and a Saint coffee shop for lunch. I tried the game croquettes and Eric had the pork schnitzel. Everything was fine but not especially memorable – except my Alpine Carnival specialty espresso drink. So good!
From there we headed to the Walvis Bay airport – parking was surprisingly confusing, as the signs gave conflicting information. At least two other cars had to turn around like we did! We finally just turned in the ‘wrong’ way to ask an attendant what to do. It turned out the parking machine was broken, so we had to go up a little farther and get a handwritten slip. All sorted, we got our boarding pass, went through security, filled out our forms, passed passport control and sat waiting for our flight in under 15 minutes. Easy!
To board, we walked from the terminal to the plane.
Our bulkhead seats were spacious, and the flight included a complimentary lunch and wine on the short (1:40) flight. Overall, our experience with Air Namibia was quite pleasant and easy.
After we returned from South Africa we decided to check out the famous flamingos in Walvis Bay. First we tried to find the entrance to the inland flamingo reserve but didn’t have any luck. Instead, we followed the coast to the lagoon. There we saw hundreds of flamingos, though given the low tide, most of them were far from shore.
We checked back into the Desert Sands Boutique B&B and collected the luggage we had left over the weekend, then settled in with blankets on the couch to watch the Italian Open final between Novak and Rafa. This time we had a two-story room with two bedrooms (#13).
To stretch our legs we walked down to the pier and picked up a few things at the grocery store. The town was quite sleepy on a Sunday.
Our dinner at The Tug was very nice. Reservations are recommended – we had tried to reserve a table for Thursday night but they were booked, so we opted for Sunday night instead. Our table was close to the entrance, so a bit noisy, but did have a nice view of the lingering sunset. I had six of the local oysters (of course!) and beef carpaccio with a small glass of blanc de noir and then a pinotage. Eric got the springbok medallions (cooked medium) and two ginger ales. Everything was delicious and well-presented.
The breakfast at our hotel was quite nice. Three juices, coffee, yogurts, cereal, bread and lots of cold cuts. You can also get your eggs cooked a number of ways and they even brought out heart shaped waffles – plus Nutella!
After breakfast we checked out, gassed up the car at the ENGEN service station around the corner and stopped at a data shop to top up my MTC SIM card. This wound up taking about 30 minutes as the SIM card I bought at the airport seemed to not be working, then one of the employees accidentally put a new SIM card into my old cardboard jacket so the number was confusingly incorrect when we tested it. The more helpful employee had to ‘unlock’ my phone to the tune of 30N$ but managed to load 1Gig of data onto my existing SIM and considering the amount of her time we took up, I felt fine paying her! Lesson learned, topping up at a machine would have been a lot easier.
Errands complete, we headed out of town and began our trek northeast toward Etosha.