Almost every Namibia trip starts in Windhoek
Windhoek International Airport (Hosea Kutako International Airport) is the gateway to Namibia for the vast majority of travelers. No wonder, it is the only international airport in the country, so the only alternative is to enter overland from South Africa or Botswana.
Our trip also started with a 6:30 a.m. on-time landing at Hosea Kukato International Airport. The flight itself was good and felt safe throughout with the COVID regulations. With tired eyes but a fair amount of anticipation, the immigration procedure was also smooth. The personal pickup by Herman increased our mood even more.
Also the next step, is exactly like every other traveler experiences it. From the airport, the first step is to get to the capital of Namibia – Windhoek. There, the first thing is to move into the first accommodation and do the last things before the actual safari. The standard accommodation for Dusty Trails Safaris travelers here is the Arebbusch Travel Lodge. Located in the district of Olympia, it is a bit out of town, but still offers short distances to shopping facilities, such as the Grove Mall. The most important thing is the cozy ambience of Arebbusch Lodge, which makes a very pleasant arrival in the destination and possible getting to know the travel group well.
See old friends and acquaintances again and meet new ones
Our first day continued like that of any Namibia traveler. Arriving at the lodge, resting from the flight and in the evening a dinner together. Strictly speaking, the normal tourist existence already ended at dinner. Because our first week should have above all also a social and business background. In short: the triple pack around Herman, Sunna and Martin meets old friends and acquaintances from Windhoek and also cultivates business relationships.
So the first evening took us to Andy’s Bar. Sunna and I had not been there before. Nevertheless, we were welcomed with open arms not only by the rustic, charming flair of the restaurant, but especially by the puzzle table at the bar. Come in and feel good. In addition, a heavenly Oryx Schnitzel with fried potatoes – great evening.
That was the start of the program for the next days. Meetings, shopping, meeting friends and acquaintances, as well as various errands to make the Dusty Car Hire fleet after the long downtime last year again 120% ready for a hopefully better travel season. The biggest surprise for us was probably the spontaneous invitation to a birthday party at Pub Bendehuis. A real party in a typical local pub, including live music. For us, this felt strange but also good. After all, we had just come out of a rather strict lockdown in Germany.
Wildlife experiences just outside of Windhoek
All in all, the days were very busy, so we deserved a little time off on Sunday. So we decided to combine the last meeting with some pleasure and drove to Okapuka Ranch. About half an hour drive from Windhoek, Okapuka Ranch is not only a nice alternative as accommodation, but like other lodges also offers restaurant services as well as wildlife activities. So besides a nice lunch we went on the game drive over the ranch.
This quickly turned out to be an absolute delight. Like almost everywhere in Namibia, the landscape could boast with lush green. Thanks to the good rainy season of 2021! In addition, of course, the wildlife sightings. Springboks, oryx, ostriches, giraffes, sable antelopes, warthogs, crocodiles and the highlight of the tour – the white rhinos. Lured by a bit of food, they even came as close as 10 meters to the vehicle. For us by far not the first rhinos, but the first from this short distance.
A good Braai and optimization of the itinerary
Back from our excursion there was still an appropriate conclusion for this day on the program. A real Namibian Braai in the Dusty Team was not to be missed. Inspired by the delicious food and good drinks, it was time to discuss the itinerary once again and get a few tips from Herman himself. As expected, some recommendations for the optimization of the tour came up. Experiences on which one should not do without. So it came, as basically expected, our route has changed significantly the first time. Some areas like Damaraland fell out as self-drive destinations. However, the most important destinations have remained and the route guidance has become much leaner.
Time to leave Windhoek
After we brought Herman to the airport on Monday, the real start of our trip came within real reach. From now on it was time to finish the last errands and get ready for departure 🙂 So get camping equipment from the Dusty warehouse, write shopping list and check off step by step.
A farewell braai could not be missing, of course. This time with Given, who supported us the whole time with everything. On Wednesday it was finally time. Everything important was there, so pack the car and go. Thanks to our experience, everything was relatively quickly and safely stowed in the car. First destination: Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch near Mariental. Accordingly, off to the south!