We finally made it to the hotel and were not disappointed. It is located about 45 km from the airport in Swapomund, a German-influenced town with highly unpronounceable street names. The hotel has very Scandinavian colors,
mainly turquoise, white, with red touches. The fabrics are from the 1970’s Marrimekko collection, if you remember that time. It is comfortable, well appointed, has its own Nespresso machine and lots of light.
After dropping off our bags, we all went to a nearby restaurant for a delicious dinner and a well-deserved sleep! I think we were out as we hit the pillows. In the morning, we had an excellent breakfast, me with a Delft teapot of tea and Jim with his own French press of coffee. By 8:00, we were all together in the lobby to go on our catamaran cruise of Walvis Bay.
The port is one of the largest in Africa, but the real show are the seals,
dolphins, pelicans and flamingos. Our guide, Ernst, was born and raised in Namibia, but his mother tongue is German. Once retired, he became a guide, regaling us with many stories about the area in a most humorous way. The big draw here are the oysters. They are huge and for those who are oyster fans, incredibly delicious, I am told. Not for me, thank you!
The seals are fearless and come aboard the boat regularly, needing to be coaxed off by the crew throwing fish overboard. Many are orphans and they rely on the fish as their daily meals. We only saw a few bottle-nosed dolphins today. And, supposedly, the pelicans, which weigh as much as 7-8 kg and have a wingspan of 2-3 meters, like to land on people’s heads. Good thing it didn’t happen today!
We went near the sand bars, where there were literally thousands of seals and another sand bar with thousands of flamingos. They weren’t as brightly colored, as I remembered, though. It seems that in zoos, carotene is added to the water to bring out the color. In nature, it depends on the kind of small shrimp they consume. These must have been anemic!
Around noon, we went inside and were served a light, but generous lunch, champagne and trays of desserts. Couldn’t be better. The oysters were caught this morning, so they were extra fresh. It was another good opportunity to get to know one another.
On our way back to the hotel, a few of our group wanted to stop at a place that offers camel rides or ATV rentals on the dunes. Four of them went this afternoon on ATV’s, while we enjoyed a relaxing time in the hotel, before taking a walk around town and going to the beach a couple of blocks away. Temperature-wise, it is in the low 70’s, with chilly mornings and evenings. We have reservations for a nice dinner later, so Day #1 has been good.
Photos from yesterday and today…