2010 BMW X5 Adventure Trip in Namibia (Page 2)
DAY 1 – PRAY AND HOPE TO BE OK
Our adventure commenced a bit earlier than what we expected because we relied too much on the online check-in services offered by Lufthansa, so we calmly headed to the airport. The only problem was that God thought it would be appropriate to prepare us for the trip we were about to leave in, so he arranged for a huge traffic jam just on our route to the airport. It was the moment when the BMW X5 had to prove us that it is worth its money, so off-road was the only way to reach the destination.
We were there just in time for the check-in because, of course, the online services meant nothing to the airport workers. We reached Frankfurt in no time so, with 4 hours left until the next plane to Namibia, we huddled together on a Starbucks bench. The iPad we had proved, once again, useless (way to go Steve, thanks for offering multitasking! NOT!) and the establishment of a working Wi-Fi connection took more than it took us to write down this article.
It was only the beginning of a not to forget 10-hour flight to Namibia. If you suffer from claustrophobia, you'd better stay away from such an adventure. The tiny Airbus we were boarded on was more than full (by the way, why aren't they offering standing rooms if we're already traveling like canned sardines?) and the seats were extremely uncomfortable just like in a ... (here, you should write down the name of the car brand you hate the most).
And as if that wasn't a nightmare already, it was extremely cold inside, no climate control was available, so the only thing we had to do was to pray and hope to be OK.
We were only a few miles away from Windhoek, so the cold was history by now, as we started enjoying the desert and the paved roads. But still, no cars around... It all looked like an ancient civilization and, unfortunately, the feeling kept us company the whole time spent in Namibia.
Of course we, as white people, were regarded as total strangers for the local airport workers, so each of us was meticulously checked before getting the go-ahead. Steve Jobs managed to make us stars once again, as the security check took several minutes until the officers finally understood that there's no removable battery in the Apple device.
Things were about to sweeten up a bit, as a kind lady, the Okapuka Ranch owner's wife, guided us to the place where we had to spend our next few days. We were lucky enough to ride in a brand new X6, so the whole BMW adventure was about to begin.
Now that we're already home, let us tell you a few things about Namibia. It's fully recommended that you exchange your money in the local currency at the airport because all cash machines (most of them compatible with VISA credit cards, NOT Mastercard) and exchange offices are pretty rare and usually placed in larger cities.
We did notice that most cars on the road were kind of expensive, making us believe that Namibia isn't such a poor country after all. However, the fact that most of the drivers were white showed us that some of them were actually tourists, so we had to return to our previous thoughts on the country.
The Windhoek capital is all about fancy houses influenced by German architecture, while most of the streets are very large, somehow in the US style, and each avenue usually has three or four lanes. Almost any house is encircled by a two-meter concrete fence, with an additional 1 meter electric fence, obviously in an effort to reduce criminality in the country. In fact, criminality was one of the main problems in the past, but authorities have managed to dramatically reduce illegal activity in the last years. Last but not least, the capital is very clean and tidy but this is only an exception, as most of the African cities are exactly the opposite.
The trip finally came to an end in Okapuka and we got the chance to stay in a bungalow for the first time in our lives. We were pretty lucky actually because the main building, which also incorporated the bar, the reception and the restaurant, was pretty close to us.
After a few hours, we had to experience, the hard way, the concept of food in Namibians culture. The whole Namibian cuisine is based on hunting, so every meal contains, more or less, meat. Finding a soup is just as hard as seeing Superman. For real...
Since most of us were used to the city life, Okapuka was as scary as it was fun. The areas around the restaurant were entirely irrigated, so large groups of herbivores could be often seen on the greensward. Of course, this doesn't mean we didn't chi-chatted with a few Warthogs, accompanied by antelopes and some kind of African bulls (GNU). The audio background was dominated by the lion roar, which made us think that we'd better stay inside the house unless we're invited to go out.
The lion was scary that's for sure and if you think we acted like chicken, the lions were actually waiting to be fed at less than 1 kilometer away from our hotel. We did visit the lion's cage where we also attended a so-called Lion Feeding show – the employees hunt antelopes and feed the lions three times a day... But it seemed like the four lions, one male and three females, were some kind of superstars in the region, because they were captured more than 20 years ago, at the express request of the government, as they were attacking farms in the area.
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