Saturday, December 26, 2015

Namibia: First Night and First Small Flight

We landed in Windheok, Namibia's capital, around 2pm and our flight out of town was scheduled for 8:30 the next morning. We only had one item on our agenda while in town: visit Joe's Beerhouse. It was very close to our hotel; the cute Olive Grove Guesthouse. We were assured it was a safe walk as long as we didn't look like tourists. We could tell we were in a good neighborhood, and we had no prints on our t-shirts that would give us away as Americans, so we felt fairly safe. Our innkeeper told us to turn right at the light. When we turned right at the light we were on a major 4 lane highway with no sidewalk. Holly suggested we did it wrong, which indeed we had. There was a sidewalk that separated us from our turn that was JUST BEFORE the light.

Joe's is a place that started as something fun, funky, and local that has now turned into a corporate machine. It had the look and feel of a chain going for that "Out of Africa" feel. It was crowded (since the football/soccer match was on) with a mix of locals and tourists. There were no bar seats When we arrived so we sat at a barrel and ordered some beers. A few minutes later a Namibian shared our barrel, started a small conversation, and was surprised we were Americans. It seems they are not used to Americans visiting All that often (tourists are usually European). Throughout the trip many Namibians asked us why we chose their country to visit. They must not read Conde Nast, Afar, or other magazines to know that Namibia has been a hot destination for the last few years. 4 bottles of beer and tip came out to $8.70. Love the Rand/Namibian Dollar/US Dollar exchange rate.

Our walk to the inn was less-eventful given we knew our way back. We settled into the deck chairs near our room and enjoyed the bottle of champagne Dave arranged to have on our arrival. Later on we ate a nice three-course dinner pool-side. With a bottle of wine and the help of a favorable exchange rate the dinner for two was around $50.

We had an early morning departure to the south and were picked up at 7:30am for the short trip to Eros Airstrip. This was not the same main airport that we flew into. This airport was for small planes. The ride took us through the center of the city and we were happy to see how clean, modern, and new many of the buildings were, and how the old German architecture mixed-in with the landscape.

When we arrived at Eros no one else was at the airport but a security guard and the snack bar worker. A while later another couple showed up. A few pilots and other staff were coming in-and-out but not much other action. Around 8:25 (our departure was 8:30) our pilot came out from a back room and grabbed us. We walked through security with minimal hassle and were escorted to our private plane (the other couple didn't show up).

Our one hour ride over the desert would be in a small 6-seater Cessna. Good thing we're not bad fliers. Our pilot gave us the safety run-down and told of what sights to look for along the way. Once we got off the ground it didn't take long for the plane to be over nothing but nature. We saw very few buildings the whole flight. People suggested for us to do a self-drive through all this?

We watched the landscape change from flat sand/rock to jagged mountain and then sand covered hills.

The self-drive could have been a cool adventure, but seeing all this "nothing" from the sky was so the way to go. It was blank and beautiful at the same time.
Here is some video from the flight:



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