What STILL NO Luggage? & Car Hire Dramas.
Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
402Trip End Dec 31, 2013
We boarded our bus at 12.00 noon and five hours later we were not very far into our journey, having spent most of this time going through the formalities at both sides of the border. Every body's luggage was unloaded and searched by the Namibian authorities. After this the bus drove on through the night, with not too many stops, and eventually we arrived at Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, 18 hours later at 6.30am and very pleased to get off the bus at last.
We found a cafe for breakfast in a shopping centre near the bus stop and were immediately amazed at how civilized Windhoek was, after where we had been in Africa. First stop was to the tourist office to ask them to check the airport lost luggage counter for us - the answer - no, our luggage was not there!
The day just got worse and worse after that.
Our plans for Namibia were not very organized. We had emailed a travel agency and used the Internet for research, before leaving home, but couldn't really book anything as, so far into our journey, we could have been days ahead or behind of our planned itinerary.
We walked about one and a half kilometres to the backpackers the "Cardboard Box" (who had a travel agency who we had emailed) only to find they had moved the tour booking office to another address. The receptionist was not very helpful with giving us directions and we ended up walking for hours, on a very hot day. As you can imagine after being on a bus for the 18 hours previous, we weren't exactly cheerful about this.
But then one of those uplifting moments of travel happened.
We knew we were finally in the right street, but still could not find the travel agency. We noticed that a lot of the buildings in the street were embassies and seeing a man taking a flag down from a flag pole, we asked if he knew where the Cardboard Box Travel agency was? He said he didn't, and asked someone else who also didn't know, then said he would personally see that we found it and to jump into his car. Heather very sensibly asked who he was first!!. It turned out he was actually the Brazilian Ambassador for Namibia, so we happily climbed into his very flash dark tinted window car and he drove us around until we found the place. The problem was that the office was new and without proper signage, on a road that was split into two sections by a main road and made to be "no through". We thanked the Ambassador profusely for his kindness to strangers. Our friend also pointed out to us a family of Albino Africans, of the Owambo tribe, in the street which was a very strange and rare sight.
We thought our dramas were over, but not so. We settled on a 4 wheel drive single cab with camping gear and a ground tent, but it was not going to be available until 2pm, which was going to be cutting it fine to get to our intended destination by nightfall, but OK we thought and went back into the city centre and killed some time. We arrived back at the car hire office at 2pm, where we were picked up by the car hirer and taken to his house to complete the paperwork and make payment. This all done and we went to collect our vehicle, discovering that it was actually a twin cab with a roof tent! Not what we wanted at all. Our plan had been to sleep in the back of the single Ute, and the twin cab made this impossible but also the roof top tent was not going to work for us with H so short and A with a frozen shoulder. The car hirer took us back to the travel agent and by now it was too late, even if we could get another vehicle, to leave that day.
Eventually, with nothing else available, we settled on a small car from Avis, to be delivered the next day and we would sleep in the car for the night at Sesriem, where we knew we could not get accommodation. We then trudged back to the backpackers and booked in after a VERY frustrating and exhausting day. Our room was called the Ritz (hardly!!) but it did the job for the night with a shared bathroom and toilet. The free pancakes and coffee for breakfast the next day were OK too even if they were not strictly on Avans diet.