A road trip without a plan to a destination called the Namib Desert with a local girl that spontaneously joined me while driving there. A true adventure climbing big sand dunes, failing to find accommodation but ending up having the best time. Read here about the spots to visit while traveling to the Namib Desert.
Spontaneous trip with Namibian local
After a self-drive safari to Etosha National Park (Self Drive Safari Video), I arrived back in Windhoek and decided to drive to the Namib Naukluft desert the next morning. I had checked in last night and was promptly invited to play pool with a few Namibian girls, which was pretty chill. Some other boys joined us later and we played a little tournament 2 vs. 2, and we actually won all the games!
I asked Laina, one of the girls, to join my road trip to Namib Naukluft Desert the next morning. She was so spontaneous and met me at the backpackers at 9 am. Before we left, we bumped into Adrian, a Polish guy I got to know last night and Anine from Norway, also on her way to the Namib Naukluft Desert in Sesriem.
A place to stay in Windhoek (recommended by the locals on arrival): Cardboard Box Backpackers
Road trip to Namib desert with a local
Laina, the girl I had just met last night at the hostel was fun to travel with and showed me some local habits and shared some crazy dangerous stories of things that had happened to her friends while walking around Windhoek. These show some of the downsides of traveling, but we still had fun playing good tunes and dancing and still driving, of course, haha. It was something like the following video:
The challenging journey to Sesriem with a normal car
It was a long journey to Sesriem, with difficult obstacles to overcome such as a waterhole and all the deep mud around. We were lucky to get passed by putting a rock into the mud so as to not get stuck – it worked successfully.
I really loved arriving at this sign and had to take a photo, one of my favorites. Do you have photos like this? Comment below.
Hustling to a hotel room/accommodations
When we finally arrived, we didn’t know where to stay and so we asked at different places, for instance, the Sossusvlei Lodge. It was perfectly located but when they showed us the wooden room that still smelled new, I was not happy to pay N3,600$/night (ca. $90) for a double room. A single room was N2,358$. Since we arrived late, the lady that showed us around offered a decent price N1,180$ for a single or N1,580$ for a double, including dinner and breakfast.
When tried to pay for it, the manager turned around and said no: we cannot give you the cheaper rate because we are a **** Hotel – haha. That made me laugh a lot and I told him I didn’t care about whether it’s a **** or ***** hotel – the rooms were comparable to the standard in Turkey for a ** hotel. The lady told me over the phone that it was a misunderstanding – a total lie.
Anyways, that didn’t work out, so we had to keep looking. The other place we checked was the Sossus Dune Lodge, some pretty awesome bungalows and the people there were nice, but they asked for N2,300$/person/night totaling N4,600$ per night (ca. $340) – crazy expensive and definitely out of budget.
Sunset at Sesriem Canyon
On our way back, we randomly bumped into Adrian (from Poland) and Anine (from Norway) – which was good – so instead of continuing to look for a place to stay, we went to the Sesriem Canyon and climbed up the mountain to watch the sunset. Both of them are very nice people and we all had a lot of fun together. Got a local beer called Savanna (the name already made me thirsty) and enjoyed a beautiful sunset in the Namibia desert.
I tell the story about the difficulty of finding a suitable room for my budget because
“This shows that things always work out, so don’t worry !”
Adventure in the Namib Desert
After the sunset at Sesriem Canyon, we still didn’t have a place to sleep, but Adrian and Anine planned to sleep in a campsite, so we decided to join them as they had an extra tent – wow, a true adventure, right? We made a campfire and shared some nice travel experiences, which was beautiful and perfect under the incredible night of stars. I realized that Adrian was a crazy guy when he told us that he had cycled the Panamericana (about 10,000 km) in South America taking him 18 months. He then bought a motorbike, rode it everywhere and slept in his tent. I attach his blog (Panamericana Blog), so you can see how his bike looks like after 10,000 km – crazy, what do you think? Would you be up for doing something like this? Comment below!
For the rest of the night, we had a nice barbecue together and I felt that we very much enjoyed our time together at that moment.
Sunrise at Dune 45
The next morning, we got up at 5:00 am to leave the campsite to climb up the Dune 45 to watch the famous sunrise. I climbed barefoot because it was really nice and I just wanted to feel the fresh sand between my toes. Also, I don’t like wearing flip flops while walking in sand – weird. Arriving at the top after about 20 minutes, we made it on time and were able to watch an incredible sunrise.
Going down the dune, I had the glorious idea of rolling myself down and so I did. Watch the following video that shows me turning and spinning crazily, but it was fun haha.
Surprising journey to the Big Daddy dune
From there we headed to Sossusvlei, where we had to park our car because to enter you need a 4×4. Adrian and Anine joined us. Instead of paying N100$/person/way to take us in a caddy, we decided to walk to the famous Big Daddy dune about 380m high and a 5km walk through the desert of Namibia. The heat and sun at this point still hadn’t reached their peak but thinking about a 5km walk made me feel gaga, so I took some action by getting my thumb up – hitchhike!
Successfully hitchhiked in the Namibia desert
It seemed like a long journey ahead of us, so with a lot of water and some biscuits, we started out. You guys already know me, I tried to hitchhike when the first 4×4 was driving past. The third 4×4 car smiled and even stopped – yeah! They were also from Germany (Sina, Albert with their young daughter Neele. They were lovely people, thanks again for this) and offered us to jump in, which was just perfect because walking in the desert with the hot sun is not ideal and would have taken a lot of energy, which would have made it hard to still climb 380m of Big Daddy Dune.
Climbing & conquering Big Daddy Dune
The hike to the top of Big Daddy dune was exhausting: the sand was getting very hot and the sun really strong. When we finally arrived on top after 65 minutes, we were really happy and sat down to enjoy the view.
A little while later, we saw a guy running up the whole dune, so I started talking to him. Long story short, he was running from the spot where we had parked the car and it took him 41 minutes from there to reach the peak of the dune – impressive. He told us that he had recently run in the Marathon De Sables, a crazy one-week series of marathons in the desert (Sahara) in Morocco. Amazing people you meet when traveling!
Afterward, we were lucky since the timing worked out perfectly and we could hitchhike back with the Germans from before and, in return, for the favor I bought ice cream for their daughter, Neele, which I thought was the least I could have done.
Back at the campsite / another unsuccessful adventure
We chilled at the pool for the rest of the day during which time I said to the other people “I’m bored and want to do something.” Well, I had the glorious idea to get the car to play some good tunes. Things didn’t work out as well as I had imagined because on my way there I got stuck in the sand. Now it wasn’t boring anymore haha. It was Anine who first was working hard while I was sitting in the car, but in the end – with the help of 5 other people pushing – it thankfully worked out.
While chilling at the pool after, we got to know this old bloke from Suisse, who got really excited to jump into the pool in his Budgy Smugglers. He was also a professor at university I couldn’t understand where but somewhere haha.
Sunset at Elm Dune
Later, we watched the sunset at the Elm dune, which was pretty nice while enjoying a local Savanna beer.
We then enjoyed looking at our photos, having a barbecue, known as Braai in Africa, and watching the incredible and breathtaking starry sky at night – it’s honestly something you have not seen before.
Journey driving back to Windhoek
On our journey back to Windhoek early in the morning, Laina and I drove past an abandoned car, which was actually really shocking to see. We stopped and I checked if there are still people inside – no one. I hope nothing too bad happened to the people – pray for them!
After being 4 hours late returning the car, Avis wanted to charge me another N1,611$ for insurance and the delayed return. After arguing and showing them my contract, which showed that everything was included, I only had to pay another N460$ for fuel and the delay, which was fine – what a hustle though to save in excess of N1,151$ (ca. xxx USD). When traveling in certain areas, expect to be ripped off, but let’s look at this one as a little administrative mistake.
After dropping off the car at Windhoek airport, Laina and I hitchhiked for N60$ from the airport back to the Windhoek city center, where I quickly had a shower and ran some errands before getting on the Intercape Bus for the journey back to Cape Town with 21 hours ahead. I know it sounds horrible but apparently, it’s a sleepliner. I was really tired too, so the ride shouldn’t be too bad and I have enough time to write my blog, which I actually need because a lot of things happened. (Cost: 780 rands, apparently it’s cheaper to catch the Baileys Bus for around 400 Rand but it is less comfy). Nice sunset on the way back.
Journey details short
Windhoek – Rehoboth – Klein Aub – Sesriem – Sesriem Canyon – Dune 45 – Big Daddy Dune – Elm Dune – Windhoek.
I TRAVEL FOREVER’s VIEW & RECOMMENDATION
At the end of my road trip through Etosha National Park and the Namib Desert, I had driven about 2,400 km in 6 days. I had the most amazing time meeting all the people from Namibia, Poland, Norway and more. I really enjoyed the things I experienced and learning about other cultures impressed me again. Thanks to Laina for making this a really fun trip and I hope to see her again soon. Also thanks to Adrian and Anine for their help and kindness in sharing food and giving me their spare tent to stay in – very generous people.
An incredible adventure that worked out amazing without a plan ! I love it!
#TW # NAMIB DESERT