6th to 10th August

Wednesday 06 August

We arrive at Windhoek at sunrise.We buy our next bus ticket, from Walvis Bay to Bagani (in the very North of Namibia), on Monday, and we go to the backpackers to leave our stuffs. The city is calm, relatively small, organized (German heritage!). It seems a good place to live, but it may be boring.

Now that everything is settled down for the next days, we have to go shopping. Because from Windhoek to Walvis Bay, we have four days of cycling on a gravel road, with no village on the way! So we buy 45 litres of water, several kilos of bread, cereals, cheese, meat, pasta and fruits! In the end of the afternoon, we have a small walk in Windhoek. It confirms our first impression of calm city. It’s strange for a capital city, but remember that the city is small, only 300 000 habitants (for two million Namibians).

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Thursday 07 August

We get up at 5 to leave at 6h30, for sunrise.

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So the next four days, we’ll be on the road to go to Walvis Bay. We will follow the C28 road all the way to Swakopmund, then follow the coast for the last 30km. We leave Windhoek very fast. Here too, there are some slums, but they seem better organized. After some 25km on the road, the tar disappears for a gravel road. But it’s a good quality, premium gravel road. There is nearly no sand, and no potholes! in fact, they’ve just re-done it. Some scarce cars pass us, like one or two per hour, creating a cloud of dust.

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The landscape around us is that of the Namibian bush: the road is a light brown ribbon, with on both sides a hilly scenery full of yellow herbs and scattered black trees, under a blue sky. As we pass on some hills, we can see dozens of kilometres in each direction. The temperature is ideal, between 20 and 25ÂșC. We keep pedalling strong the whole day, with shorts breaks, because we only have four days to cover the nearly 400km till Walvis Bay. We arrive at sunset at the Harmonie Saal house, where there is no one. We mount our tent and have dinner, somehow protected from the wind, and curious looks from the road. For washing dishes, we experiment the sand, with success!

Friday 08 August

We get up at 4h45, just in time to be ready to leave at sunrise. It is chilly this morning. Remember that even though we are close to the Capricorn Tropic line, here it’s winter and we are at 1800m high. The road today is more complicated, as we cross mountains. We never climb very high, but there is never a flat terrain. The road also keeps winding, and it presents some sandy areas. There are many small rocks, waiting for us to arrive in order to jump on the bike and make some scary noise. The last big climb is the Bosua Pass. Afterwards, there is a big descent and the road flattens, for the last kilometres of the day.

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We saw several kinds of bucks, many birds and very few cars. I hope we won’t need a lift tomorrow.

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We find a place to sleep just after we see a hope-restoring road sign telling us the distances: Swakopmund 156km, Windhoek 160km. That’s great! We did half, the most complicated half. We get away from the road about 100m, and put the tent as the Sun sets. We eat quickly, and at 19h, we’re in the tent, ready to sleep!

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Saturday 09 August

We get up at 4h45 again. Despite the lower altitude, it’s really cold here. Temperatures are negative: the water we left outside has started to freeze. We leave at sunrise, as expected, but stabbed by the cold. The road this morning is absolutely awesome: it’s still gravel road, but it’s slightly going down, with no potholes, no bumps, and with back wind.

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Also, as we have left the mountainous part, the road is now straight. At this pace, we are reassured, we will be able to reach Walvis Bay by tomorrow night. We see a small herd of zebras.

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The landscape also changes. The bush is replaced by a more desert scenery where lay stones and sand instead of herbs. Many of the stones glitter in the sun.

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In the afternoon, the wind changes direction, now against us. But we do not lose hope. We finally reach a tarred road, for the last 60km till Swakopmund. We decide to sleep nearby. On both sides of the road, there are concessions for uranium exploitation. As there are no trees to cover us, we go quite far away from the road to find a spot for tonight.

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There are numerous holes on the floor. In the evening, we discover why: some mole-like animals, the Meerkats, live inside the burrows. And at dusk, they start to communicate, with their sardonic laugh. One of them is under the tent, every 5 minutes, we hear its shout from just under. Let’s hope it won’t continue for the whole night! well, it continues for a time, but we are so tired that it cannot prevent us from sleeping.

Sunday 10 August

We again manage to get up at 4h45. The weather looks correct, not as cold as yesterday. But ten minutes later, we are in a deep fog. The humidity bites you stronger than the cold. We leave at sunrise, thankfully, the fog over us has gone, but the tent is now wet.Let’s go, we’ll dry it tonight. On the road, there are still some fog banks resisting. We see dozens of workers along the road, building a pipeline, to provide water to the mining companies (mainly uranium). The view of Swakopmund, the fourth biggest city in Namibia with 60 000 inhabitants, is at first quite appalling, under the grey sky, with the fog banks, and industrial scars-like electric lines, pipelines and roads converging to the city. Everything is in the palette from yellowish to brown and grey.

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Finally, we arrive in Swakopmund. The city is better than expected. The austere and precise charm of the buildings takes you out of Africa. We find an interesting buffet breakfast in the lobby of a hotel! perfect, it’ll make our lunch.

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Afterwards, we continue towards Walvis Bay. On one side of the road, the sea, on the other side of the road, dunes of yellow-orange sand, on the road, predators brushing past us at 100km/h. We make some photos in the dunes and continue our route.

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We found one thing for the cars: we hold the flag towards the inside of the road, like this, the cars will leave at least 1m of margin, and they will think it twice before passing us.

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We arrive in Walvis Bay in the afternoon, Sarien and her family are waiting for us (couchsurfing this time). We have a long-awaited shower, clean the chains of the bikes, and visit the city with Sarien. In the famous French restaurant, Lyondor, we meet a German touring cyclist, Erwin, on his way from Khartoum to Capetown.

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Here is his website: http://erwin-on-tour.blogspot.com. The very nice waterfront (including this restaurant), is about to disappear. All this area belongs to NAMPORT, the state company that manages the port. Walvis Bay is the only deep water port of the region, and with the development of uranium mining nearby, the port is becoming very transited, requiring an extension.

It has been hard to refrain ourselves from taking videos in this wonderful landscape… Here are some of them:

And just for you, we managed to record the first arrival on Mars: