A day off in Swak

Day 276, Saturday 06 October 2012 – Swakopmund, Namibia

Today was the first of a couple of optional extra days – where we could do one of many self funded tours or just laze about. One of the great things with the Africa-in-Focus tours is that most things are included; a lot of the other operators have a huge list of excluded optional extras, which would suck. I elected to do nothing, though in hindsight I should have done the desert explorer trip as those who did it said it was fantastic.

I stayed in bed quite late, had a leisurely breakfast and then Leonie and I wandered into downtown Swakopmund to see the sites, not that there were many! Swakopmund was developed by the Germans around the start of the 20th century. Some of the old architecture still remains, but as always it has been modernised.

This store was a private concentration camp during the German conquest of the Herero people at the turn of the last century. Apparently there were a number of privately owned camps here.

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After dropping washing at the local laundry and a visit to an ATM and the internet cafe – and another coffee we wandered down to the local museum, which was OK. A typical provincial museum, though there was no mention of the massacre of the Herero people by the German settlers in the early 1900’s.

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I loved this kids toy in the park!

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The local tourist market was outside the museum.

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I was feeling quite tired and drained so headed back to the room for a lie down while a few of the others went for lunch. On the way back Leonie and I were stopped by a guy selling key rings carved from a soft stone, I ended up buying one with my named carved in it, mainly because as he said to me, there is no work. If he didn’t sell things he made to tourists then crime was the only other choice – no social services here. It only cost a couple of bucks and I would rather support individuals than the big stores.

I then managed a good couple of hours photo sorting, typing blog entries and listening to music on my own which was just perfect. One of the downsides of group travel and shared accommodation is a lack of personal time and space, and I do miss it. I was in desperate need of the blog typing as I have done virtually none since Cape Town and I was (and still am) days behind. I also found that the external hard disk I had bought as a back-up had been damaged in the truck and was un-usable, hopefully I will have enough space on my USB drives to back up the new photos on my laptop.

I shot up to the internet cafe again and uploaded the three posts I had written and then back down to the Desert Tavern for a couple of pints and to watch the All Blacks play the Springboks on the TV. We were the happier supporters at the end of the day.

Almost the whole group headed out for dinner with the aim of going to the seafood restaurant at the end of Swakopmund wharf as it had been recommended to a few of us. Sadly it and a couple of the other restaurants were all fully booked and we ended up a basic fish and grill place, which turned out to be fine. The food was good and plentiful and the prices were probably far less than the upper end restaurants.

On the way out for dinner I passed this seafood restaurant – obviously owned by Aussies.

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It was an early start (again) so everyone drifted off to bed after dinner. It was good to have a day off.

It has been a week of travelling now and I have been having a good time so far. I like the crew and the company I am with so have decided to do another two weeks at the end of the trip and visit the gorillas in Rwanda. I asked Brett the tour leader to email his boss to sign me up.

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About wheresphil

Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, now living in London.
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