Your Next Big Trip

Crossing Namibia Off My Bucket List

Namibia should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Namibia is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. As African countries go, it really has everything. In just a few hours driving you can be in cities modelled on Germany, lonely desert roads with only chameleons for company or watch a lion stalk its prey in Etosha National Park. All of this in a country that’s the same age as me!

Before I ever set foot on the African continent, I spent many evenings scrolling through pictures of the Namib Desert and, in particular, Dead Vlei- the white clay pan that lies at the foot of the Sossusvlei Dunes.

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Namibia is not just for honeymooners and celebrities.

Namibia has a reputation as an expensive destination (Brad and Angelina have a lot to answer for!) Most of the travellers I met there were much older than me, even those staying in backpacker accommodation. I had written Namibia off as a destination I would visit when I was older with more money. Travelling for 7 weeks on a budget is not easy when we wanted to do so much. We had decided to bus it wherever possible which led us to the Intercape. The bus travels from Livingstone to Cape Town with a compulsory stopover in…Windhoek, Namibia!

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Boarding a bus to my dream destination was surreal.

I felt like I had won the lottery when I realised I could get a $40 bus from Livingstone, to Windhoek. I was so excited that I didn’t really think about what I was going to do for the 22 hour journey! We boarded the bus laden down with food and blankets. I smugly noted that the locals were doing the same and felt very organised! About 2 hours into the journey we stopped at the Namibian border. It’s a straightforward process once you realise you have to walk across the border and meet the bus at the other side. Lots of people didn’t realise this so in all we spent about an hour at the border until everyone was sorted.

About 4 hours into the journey we stopped for food. Everyone made a dash to the Pick n Pay supermarket. I hurried to follow them when I felt a hand pulling me back. I followed the gaze of my trusty travel companion across the road- my second KFC both of this trip and in my life! While we were happily eating our meal, most of the Pick n Pay people arrived to the KFC queue empty handed and had to rush their food. My advice for any long haul bus- always take the first and fastest food option. These buses do not wait, as 2 of the passengers found out after chasing us down for 5 minutes!

Namibia is all about endless roads and not a person in sight…

The views from the bus were spectacular. The vastness of a country as small as Namibia is hard to comprehend. With a population of 2.1 million, we drove for almost 10 hours without seeing a single person or building.

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The journey itself was not as bad as expected. The bus was comfortable and typical of any coach in Europe or the U.S.A. It didn’t stop very often so limit the amount of fluids you take! The Intercape promises “entertainment promoting the Christian faith.”  In our case it was a film about a man who lost his job. He then befriends a little girl in a park and plays with her every day. Slightly creepy. They played it twice. Bring earphones!

All in all the long journey was worth it to reach a destination I had always dreamed about…and all for around what I would pay for a wash, cut and blowdry at home!


4 thoughts on “Crossing Namibia Off My Bucket List

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      I kind of did the trip in stages. 2 of us stayed with friends in Zambia, took a bus to Livingstone and did Victoria Falls ourselves, then took a bus to Namibia and joined a 3 day tour from there as it was more cost effective than renting a car and doing it ourselves. Then we flew to Cape Town but there’s also a bus. Then we did South Africa by the Baz Bus, flew to Zanzibar and booked our accommodation there through friends we met the last time we visited. I think for safari definitely do a tour, I have done safari around 4 times and always booked on a tour. You can self drive but you miss the expertise of having a guide. We strongly considered joining an overland tour for the whole trip but just found the whole thing a bit rigid and the dates didn’t suit. I think if you break the trip down into chunks then it’s totally doable by yourself and just book tours for the out of the way places! If you have any more questions send them on. I’ve been to Africa 5 times now and love convincing more people to go 🙂

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Honestly, I must get round to writing more about Namibia. It was so unlike anywhere I had ever been before. Definitely the place to go if you’re looking for something different.

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