“Africa … It took some time to do the things I never had before …” (based on the lyrics from Toto)

Hello!

I just returned from my really great trip through Namibia, Botsuana and Zimbabwe and my heart and head is full of new experiences, impressiones, pictures, emotions ….. so I am starting today with my little travelogue about the safari I went on and I hope you will enjoy to read about it. There are so mayn different facets of my experiences – the country, the people, the culture, the amazing nature and the impressive wildlife but also how I experienced the safari trip itself and the group dynamics and what the tour changed in retrospective in my own opinions … so let´s see how it all will go here with my writing and how the flow takes me.

Before we get started let me make one comment: literally everyone I met or spoke before my holiday recommended to read the book “Hummeldumm” – Tommy Jaud (unfortunately only available in german language) and I must say I recalled quite often some of the situations from that book during the trip! 🙂

As it was a very spontanous decision to travel to Africa during my holiday I decided to book an organized Lodge Safari tour with a small group. As I got my travel intiary and some additional information I saw that finally 7 people including me had booked the tour. 7 people could either be really great or very very terribly …. There was a last piece of hope that the other six people would not be three couples but I got mentally ready that this could be the case ….

My journey started with the KLM flight via Amsterdam to Windhoeck. I flew out on a Friday night with a supposed arrival at 11:30am. I was watching the other people and trying to figure out whom of them could be part of my travel group if I am honest. The flight was very relaxed I was sitting next to someone from the UK flying to Angola to work there as an engineer on a plattform for the next four weeks so we had a little chat about Angola, the Brexit, the works situation in England before he went to sleep. The movies had been really outdated so that I also slept for a couple of hours till we landed in Luanda, Angola. The airplane got cleaned and refueled and the crew changed whilst we had to remain on board, seated the belt open. As the airport was about to get closed the pilot decided to take off in a rush. Only disadvantage of that was that we had no landing cards for Namibia. So when we arrived half an hour earlier than expected we came in right after another large airplane so that the immigration took me literally an hour! I was sweating, needed urgently a toilet and was still looking for the other potential members of my travel group. Right in fron of me in the queue there was a family of six constantly argueing with eachother and I was hoping that these people would not be my group ……

After the successful immigration I collected my backpack and walked out. After a bit of asking around I finally found my tour guide and driver. And if I am honest I was a bit surprised (to use the polite word) … he was a 70 years old not so slim short man with a beart like Santa Claus. And he obviously was a bit stressed. Told me we need to get right to the car and drive to Windhoeck to collect the other travel party members who had all arrived the day before and were already calling the ageny why the trip hadn´t started yet. So I said I actually need to exchange money, wanted to go to the bathroom and change my clothes to lighter ones. He said that I can´t do any of that and said that he can change me the money. I was a bit surprised that he offered that and asked for his exchange rate – so for 200€ he would give me 2800 NAD he said. At the end I was only “allowed” to go to the official currency exchange. There was no queue at all (the long queue was at the cash machine) so I insisted to go there at least whilst he would pay the parking fee. And btw I got then 3500 NAD for my money ….

After 45 minutes drive we then arrived at the B&B accomodation and I met the rest of the group. I saw immediatly that my worry became true! Three couples! The three man walked first line towards me and introduced themselves: Frederik, Frank und Kurt and then the ladies: Rita, Carla and Ann.

As I know really urgently needed the bathroom I asked the proprietress if I could quickly go whilst they would load there luggages into the trailer. whilst washing my hands I was thinking by myself that the 6 people would now probably all have occupied the inner space and seats of the Jeep and only the seat next to the driver would be free. This would then isolate me from the start from the rest of the group as they all had met eachother already the day before and had dinner with eachother … and are all angry as because of me thy couldn´t start the tour early in the morning. Very spontanously when I returned back to the car and got into the inner space (where the three ladies were already sitting, bags on all seats …) and said to them that I would leave one of them the best seat in the entire Jeep – the one next to the driver as this one is the spacious one, the one with the best view as a compenssation that they all had waited to long for me and I would take voluntarely the one in the row. It went quiet for a moment and I used that to ask on which of the seats I could sit on. So Rita finally took the bag from Frederik away and said that I could use that seat, Frederik would then sit next to the driver. – In reflection I think if my gut would not have told me to react like this I probably would not have found a connection to the group!

After some short stops at the Supermarket (I watched some white women instructing black Supermarket staff to carry her groceries to the car …. very irritating for me to see that to be honest …. ) to buy some lunch we finally started the journey to our destination of that first day … the Namib desert!

I think it turned out as lucky that we had been driving in the afternoon as the sunlight that time left the sand dunes in a very special light! After 300 km of drive we arrived at 6.30pm at our accomodation for the next two nights: The Elegant Desert Lodge – Tent side. The luxury tents are 8 km away from the main building of that lodge in the middle of nowhere! However the view is stunning!! http://www.elegant-desert-lodge.de/

After a bit of settling in we enjoyed our dinner under the stars here in that nice outdoor “restaurant” space. By the way: I got intensly questioned why I haven´t had considered to also arrive a day earlier 😉 Well, as it never came into my mind I never asked the agency about what the other guests are doing and the schedule offered was exactly the one I booked ….. I enjoyed my cool beer and didnt say much to that conversation!

We all went to bed early as the start of our tour to Sossusvlei would be at 6am 🙂 Let the adventure begin!

That was day one of my trip or shall I say a long intro! 🙂 I promise the next posts will be shorter but I had to get into it, set the scene so to say …

Stay tuned … more to come on Africa, Africa …..

Ina T.

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