Time for a cool sea breeze
After our stay in Sesriem and Sossusvlei we first went back to Windhoek. “Tom Cruiser”, the series 100 Land Cruiser was needed elsewhere, so we unceremoniously swapped the car for the classic of our fleet. The Land Cruiser DC70 should be our companion from now on. The next destination was Swakopmund and its surroundings. On the one hand, after the heat of the Namib, it was time for a little cooling at the sea. On the other hand, we had the opportunity to meet the founders of the Dusty family and especially Carlien, the youngest member of the team.
Swakopmund – Colonial charm and the sea in all its glory
As accommodation for the next days we have chosen the Alte Brucke Resort in Swakopmund. The lodge offers nicely decorated rooms of different categories as well as camping sites. The distances to the beach promenade and the main street are pleasantly short. In the evening you can have a delicious buffet dinner in the restaurant Old Steamer. Attention, since the restaurant is also popular with locals, a reservation is recommended.
Contrary to our usual habit, we opted for a room here instead of camping. The reason is quite simple. The climate of Swakopmund likes to wait with fresh sea winds, but especially with morning fog. This makes camping usually not very pleasant.
A short tour through Swakopmund
Many of the city’s sights can be easily explored on foot. If you start from the Alte Brucke Lodge, you can first walk along the beach promenade. There you can admire the partly roaring sea and the first colonial buildings. Furthermore, the fresh breeze promises a pleasant cooling. Before the wind makes you freeze, you reach the main street Sam Nujoma (formerly Kaiser Wilhelm Street). From there you can discover more buildings from the old times. Likewise, various restaurants and bars invite you to stay and relax. If you are in the mood for fish or even good meat in an old German ambience, you should take a detour to Kückis Pub. Just take some time to stroll through the streets of Swakopmund – and you will find something nice.
From Swakopmund to Walvis Bay – beach, dunes, seals and sea
In the area of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay a variety of activities are offered. If you want to explore the world of the dunes, you can choose between camel tours, scenic flights, excursions or quad tours. Here we have made good experiences with Desert Explorers in the past.
The best way to explore the water world is from Walvis Bay. Boat tours are offered there, on which you will discover seals, pelicans, flamingos, dolphins and with a little luck even whales. The tours usually start from the Walvis Bay Waterfront, where you can also enjoy food or a cool drink with a very nice view. As a provider for boat tours we can recommend Laramon Tours.
We had thought about something completely different for our trip. No fixed activities, but simply explore the area by car. This is also possible. With the 4×4 vehicle the Walvis Bay Wetlands as well as the Pelican Point can be reached. In the small beach towns, such as Long Beach, between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, you can enjoy the rough beach feeling of the Atlantic.
Shark fishing near Swakopmund
As mentioned above, one of our goals was to meet with Carlien. And that’s exactly what we did. In a cozy round with her family we met in the bar Zonder Naam in Swakopmund. We quickly learned that Carlien is not only the newest member of the Dusty family, but also fishes for the Namibian National Team. In general, fishing is a hobby that not only Carlien, but also her husband Willem and the whole family shares.
So we were then spontaneously invited to participate in the family fishing weekend. For Martin this was of course the opportunity to learn something about sea fishing directly from professionals. So on our way to Henties Bay we made a detour to Mile 14, a fishing area including a campsite. In general, the Sekeleton Coast is not only packed with old shipwrecks, but also with fishing spots. A dream for every fishing enthusiast!
After a warm welcome at the campsite, we set off shortly after to move into a fishing spot. And with that the learning program started for Martin. Target fish were sharks, most likely catch Spotted Gully Sharks. The lesson started with preparing the bait. Already here we were surprised by the meticulousness of the preparations. Pieces of mullet and mackerel are cut and tied with care. This bait would be very tasty even cooked for a human.
To cast the fishing rod, we had to wade out into the water a bit because of the low tide. For safety’s sake, the professionals took care of that. Even if the sharks were not too much in the right mood, the balance for Martin could still be seen. Within only 3 hours 2 Spotted Sharks could be booked as success. By the way, the animals are not harmed in any way. Fishing is done with round hooks that do not hurt the animal and after a short proof photo it is gently released back into the sea. The tasty bait is free of charge for the shark.
Visiting the Dusty Trails Safaris founders in Henties Bay
Of course, a visit to Herman and Elna Oosthuizen was not to be missed. Accordingly, Henties Bay was also on our itinerary. Today in well-deserved retirement, the two enjoy their twilight years in the mild climate of the coastal village and occasionally still help out with Dusty Trails Safaris tours.
Now the question may arise, how it came to the foundation of the company. So here is the story in short form. Herman Senior worked as a missionary for the Protestant Church of Namibia. In this context, together with his wife Elna, he led a project for the federation of Bushmen in the Mangetti area. Building schools, promoting perspectives, and creating an understanding of the land and the state apparatus of Namibia were the goals of this program. This was no easy task, as the San people still live most strongly according to their old traditions as hunter-gatherers. Despite all adversities, however, they were to succeed, but only with the support of sponsors.
These sponsors would also provide the impetus for Dusty Trails Safaris. To show the donors the progress of the work, Herman and Elna began to show them around the country and share their knowledge. However, this was all done as a token of their gratitude for the funds contributed to the Bushman Project. Enthusiastic about these tours, some of the sponsors then began to get friends and acquaintances interested in the project, but especially in traveling to Namibia. And so it came about that at the end of the Bushman Project Herman and Elna started to show their country specifically to the now quite numerous guests. Dusty Trails Safaris was born. Since 2005 the Oosthuizens lead individual tours through Namibia.
However, during our visit to Henties Bay a little north of Swakopmund, we not only reminisced about old memories, but also optimized our route again. A new stopover was to be added – Madisa. More about that in the next article. And for the conclusion of the evening there was of course again a delicious Braai.