In this latest series, I will be going through all the countries I’ve travelled to on my mission to visit every single country in the world. In this article, we will be covering country #15: Namibia. If you haven’t gotten a chance already, read this story first to find out why I’m trying to visit all 193 UN-recognized countries.
VIDEO – Country #15: Namibia
- My Complete Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia Spending Breakdown
- My 23 Hour Overnight Bus Ride From Zambia to Namibia
- Read This Guide To Avoid Potential Disaster Before Visiting Sossusvlei Namibia
- Car Crash Nightmare in Namibia
Arriving in Windhoek
When we first arrived in Windhoek, we were dead tired. We just took a super long 23 hour bus ride from Zambia.
We didn’t have anything booked but we figure we would try our luck at the popular local hostel called Cardboard Box Backpackers. A taxi driver then drove by us and we negotiated a price to take us to the hostel. Unfortunately, this man was a scammer because when we got to the hostel, he said that price is per person, not for the entire taxi ride. We were too tired to argue so we just paid the guy the money which further reinforces my hate for taxi drivers.
Cardboard Box Backpackers
Upon reaching the hostel, we got lucky and a private room was available for a decent price. Karen and I accepted it right away.
We then inquired about how we can go about travelling to Sossusvlei and the hilarious front desk staff told me I need to speak to the manager. When I asked her who the manager was, her reply was “da faaat wan”.
I love Africa.
So we approached the overweight white Namibian man who owned the hostel and inquired about joining a tour to Sossusvlei and he said we need to find other people to team up with or it is not worth it for him to take us there.
Renting a car with my Japanese companions
A Japanese traveller was nearby and overheard us. He spoke to me and Karen and said it would be cheaper if we rented a car instead of joining the tour.
We agreed with him and decided to venture into the city to find a place to rent a car and also to get some food.
Unfortunately for us, most places already sold out their car rentals months in advance and we had to somehow get lucky and find a place with a last-minute cancellation.
We eventually did but it’s a standard transmission vehicle. Thankfully, he knew other Japanese backpackers nearby who knows how to drive a manual transmission vehicle and decided we would team up the next day for this adventure.
I was an idiot in this situation because I agreed to put the car under my credit card which later bit me in the ass.
Resting before leaving the next day
After securing a car rental and getting some delicious local food, we retreated back to our hostel to get some rest.
Ironically, even though our room looks like a prison cell, we actually got one of the best sleep we’ve ever had during our backpacking trip.
Road trip to Sossusvlei
The next day, we gathered the rest of the gang and got the car. The first part of the trip wasn’t too bad as the road was paved. We went to a local grocery store and purchased some food and equipment to keep us alive during this overnight camping trip.
Before long, we were driving on a dirt road that progressively got worst. Thankfully, we got to Sossusvlei safely and set up camp. The worst thing that happened was that our tire got stuck in the sand but some locals coached us on how to drive away from the sandpits.
Climbing Dune 45
In the evening just before sunset, we drove to Dune 45 and hiked up the ridge. This has got to be one of the most magical hikes I’ve ever done and the sunset did not disappoint.
Karen and I got tons of awesome pictures and we hoped our trip was going to stay like this.
Freezing to death overnight
At night, the Japanese backpackers cooked our dinner (instant noodles with eggs inside) and we had canned peaches for dessert.
Karen and I didn’t have a tent so we ended up sleeping in the car overnight. We didn’t realize how cold it was at night and we weren’t prepared. Sadly, we didn’t sleep very well and was dead tired and exhausted the next morning.
I probably won’t do anything like that ever again. But when I was a budget backpacker, I put up with a lot of poor travel conditions just to stretch my dollar.
The next day, we drove to the parking lot where Deadvlei and the Big Daddy Dune was located. We were so tired and it was freezing cold. I hated my life at that point.
Because it was so cold, we decided we would take pictures with Deadvlei first. I don’t think this was a good idea because it was too hot when we decided to trek up to Big Daddy Dunes.
But at least we got some awesome pictures.
Trekking up Big Daddy in the blistering heat
The trek up Big Daddy Dunes was rough. It was super hot and the sand was also burning hot. Normally, you hike up with your socks on. But, it was just so hot I ended up putting my sandals back on.
Karen wanted to give up several times because it was boiling hot and we were low on water. It felt like forever to reach the top of the Big Daddy Dune.
Thankfully, we persevered and made it to the top and the pay off was well worth it!
The long drive back to Windhoek
The drive back was challenging as there were a few dirt roads that were for some reason…flooded. We had to be careful navigating through those areas.
The worst part of the drive; though, was the Japanese guy driving started becoming overconfident. I was sleeping while he was driving and I felt the car skid a few times. I started getting worried. Before long, I was woken up to the car spinning out of control.
The driver went up this sandbank to help cushion the crash of the car. Luckily, no one was hurt but the bottom of the car was definitely damaged.
Some locals drove by and helped us push the car back to the road. They also helped pull the debris from the bottom of the car. Not long after, a policeman drove by and told us we need to get a police report.
We got lucky because we were still able to drive the car. But, we had to drive very slowly as the bottom of the vehicle was damaged.
Getting a police report
It took a while to reach the police station. Since we’re in Africa, the police took a long time before they gave us the police report.
Regardless, it was an interesting experience because we got to see what a Namibian police station was like. They had a board on their wall with categories of type of crime committed recently in the area. I’ll leave it to your imaginations to picture what sort of crime is being committed in African nations.
The slow drive back to Windhoek
Eventually, it was dark and we started making our way back to Windhoek. We were super exhausted by the time we reached our accommodation. For me personally, I couldn’t wait to get out of Namibia.
The next day, we left Namibia. The Japanese backpackers promised we would split the cost of the car rental damage. At the time, the damage of the car was charged on my credit card which was in the $800 range.
Nightmare getting my money from the Japanese backpackers
I had to hound those Japanese backpackers to send me the money they owed me. The guy that we met at Cardboard Box Backpackers was easy to deal with. He communicated to us exactly when he would pay me back. And he did keep his word.
However, the other two backpackers actually started evading me and not replying to my emails. It wasn’t until Karen started emailing them and shaming them. Doing so finally got them to send me the money they owed four months later.
Anyways, I take full responsibility for accepting to put the car on my credit card. I learned the hard way and I will never ever do that ever again.
My trip to Namibia was really rough. The country has some of the most amazing landscapes you’ll ever see. And truthfully, I definitely want to explore it more thoroughly.
I don’t think I want to do it anytime soon because of the horrible experience I had. But, maybe in the distant future, I could possibly go back and I’ll make sure to rent an automatic transmission vehicle way ahead of time.
I’d really like to see Etosha National Park and the Skeleton Coast one day. This means I’ll give Namibia another shot and visit it again someday in the future.