We are in Walvis Bay, Namibia today and tomorrow. With a population of about a hundred thousand, it is a much larger and busier port than Luderitz. Our excursion today, called Swakopmund Sightseeing, began with a short drive to the lagoon to see many greater flamingos wading in the shallow ocean waters. There are thousands of these birds, but they are spread out throughout the beach area. We did capture a few groups on film, but didn’t have our telephoto lens with us today, thinking it wouldn’t be necessary.
From here, we entered the Namib Desert, an amazing place of gigantic 300-foot high sand dunes and stopped at Dune #7 for a 20 minute exploration. We climbed about halfway to the top (we didn’t think we had the time to go all the way), took pictures, and slid down the slope. Mac tried running and took a tumble down the sand dune. It was great fun! We get to do it again as part of tomorrow’s tour. We felt like Lawrence of Arabia trudging through the sand. We could have stayed much longer. The temperature was a comfortable high 70’s, since it is now fall and a lot cooler than the hot summer months.
Our bus of only 22 passengers headed to the quaint former German town of Swakopmund, and stopped at the Karakulia Weavery for a tour. A guide showed us how the wool arrives from local farms, gets woven into thick yarn, dyed, and then spun by hand into lovely African patterns of animals, nature, natives, etc. There were small wall hangings to large floor rugs, many taking months to weave. The pattern is the same on both sides, with no ragged edges. We purchased an elephant wall hanging.
Our next stop was the Kristall Gallerie, home to the largest quartz crystals in the world. They were as tall as we were. There were huge geodes as well as amethysts and other jewels. We took lots of photos of these. Of course, they sold jewelry and hoped many of us would purchase some. We later had almost an hour to explore Swakopmund, check out the 19th century German architecture, and browse the Brauhaus, a pedestrian arcade in the town center. We did find several African items to add to our souvenir stash. I hope we don’t have to buy another suitcase.
We returned after 3PM and later went to mensa and trivia. We did well on Mensa and earned 3 points, but also came in second in trivia – (wow! two days in a row).
A local teenage group, the Moscato Youth Choir, came aboard and performed a 6PM show of native songs. They are an international award-winning troupe and it showed. They sang beautifully in their native tongue, all the while explaining to us what they were singing about. They performed for an hour and we still could have listened to more. It was a terrific show, and a wonderful cultural experience that Regent provided to us.
Tonight there was a special dinner on the pool deck- “Jimbo’s Historic Route 66 Truck Stop Diner,” complete with traditional comfort foods. These included hamburgers, fried chicken, meatloaf, beef, ribs, pizza, corn on the cob, etc. The staff did a super job decorating and dressing in 50’s and 60’s garb. It was funny to see Jamie, our cruise director, dressed as a short order cook, and Lorenzo, our maître ‘d, in a flannel shirt. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. It was a nice way to end a busy day.
Yours in travel,
Pat & Mac