I had never been to Africa before and my concerns were that it would be full of jostling people trying to sell trinkets. Perhaps the conditions would be rough and the hotels rudimentary. In the event Namibia was empty. People and traffic were rare outside the two main towns, Windhoek and Swakopmund, and we didn’t stay in either for very long.
I liked the hotels. All of them had swimming pools, patronised mainly by those of the group who had spent their youths bathing in mountain streams.
Lots of big animals in the Etosha National park. Yes, elephants are big, lions eat raw meat and zebras do cross the road. But I liked the giraffe best; who would invent such gangling creatures? A water hole and a giraffe neck are not ideal companions.
The Skeleton coast is aptly named. The sandy beach stretches to infinity and the sea pounds the shore. Large ships are no match for the rip currents and storms as witnessed by the latest wreck.
On the road to Swakopmund we found a chameleon crossing the road. Who was it that put a coloured jumper down to test its camouflage skills? And why did they choose that colour?
The dunes of the desert at Sossusvlei make my local beaches in England look like a children’s sand pit. At the time of our visit a sandstorm blew in and movement was challenging. A few intrepid walkers made it to the top. I think I saw Lawrence of Arabia but it may have been Omar Sharif.
With such distances to travel, petrol stations have a new importance. Each one being marked on the national map. They give off a sense of isolation like oases in the desert.
And so on to a restful stay at the Rostock Ritz, a ranch with its own airfield and extensive opportunities for both walking and relaxing.
Yes Namibia is much better than my expectations. No hassling. Just good travelling.