Zim-Zam-Nam: Part 4

Alexander Paone
August 23, 2013

We left our hostel and got a cab to the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. From here we had to walk through customs and across the bridge over the Zambezi River separating the two countries. Once in Zambia we had to obtain our Zambian visas and after some issues with the multiple currencies we had on hand we were finally in a cab on our way to Livingston.


Maya and Alex crossing the bridge over the Zambezi from Zimbabwe to Zambia with our Swedish friends Ida and Fred.

Alex and I had to quickly say goodbye to Maya as we boarded our bus to Namibia and she made her way to the airport to fly to Malawi where she was spending the rest of her time in Africa for the summer.

Waiting at the bus station in Livingston before heading to Namibia.

Alex and I, along with our Swedish friends, had a 20 hour bus ride overnight to Namibia’s capital city of Windhoek. We arrived in the mid-afternoon and checked into our hostel where we showered and rested before walking into the city.

Windhoek was a surprisingly beautiful and clean city. While there wasn’t much to do or see there we explored for a while and ate a dinner of zebra, crocodile, oryx and ostrich at a place called Joe’s.

The next morning Alex and I decided to take a mini-bus (rather than a coach bus for 10x the cost) to the coastal town of Swakopmund, about 4 hours and 400 kilometers away from Windhoek. We piled into the mini-bus and it departed when it was full.

The bus dropped us off in Swakopmund and we started walking towards our hostel when I realized I left my book that had my passport in it on the bus. In a moment of panic we hailed an already occupied cab and told him to take us to the mini-bus station. With our luck the driver barely spoke English but as he drive us to the station (which was a grocery store parking lot) he began to understand that we didn’t need to catch a bus, but that I was trying to track down my passport. When we got to the station somebody told us that the bus had already came and went, which is when I remembered that it’s final destination was Walvis Bay, about 40 kilometers away. I was determined to try everything in my power to get my passport back so we asked the driver to take us there. He hesitated but we negotiated a fair price and we drove about 20 minutes through the coastal desert dunes to Walvis Bay. When we arrived at the mini bus station our bus was nowhere to be seen so we found the station boss and described our situation. All he told us was, “I know the guy. Wait”. We waited anxiously for about 15 minutes when a random man got into our cab and gave our driver directions. We ended up driving deep into one of the townships to the mini-bus driver’s home where he showed up a few minuted later in our bus. Fingers crossed I went over to the bus and found my passport in the back seat. I bought the taxi driver a drink and we made our way back to our hostel in Swakopmund where we were finally able to rest.


A jackal in the desert near Walvis Bay, Namibia

The next day Alex and I organized a 4×4 tour into the dunes near Walvis Bay which took us through salt flats, along the coast and over the huge dunes that cover most of Namibia’s coastline. The scenery was pretty incredible and our guide was really knowledgeable about the regional ecology.


The dunes near Walvis Bay that span Namibia’s coastline

By this point in our trip we were pretty exhausted and running low on money so we made the decision to head back to Cape Town a couple days early. The next day we got a bus back to Windhoek where we planned to spend another night before catching a 20 hour bus back to Cape Town, but we made a spontaneous decision to just catch that bus that day instead of spending an extra night. We had some time to get some food and walk around to stretch our legs before we got on the bus to Cape Town.

It was really great to be back in Cape Town where we felt comfortable and at home. We didn’t do much the last few days, just organized our belongings, packed and took one of our friends out to dinner at the Waterfront.

I’ll never forget the memories and friends I made in Cape Town.

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Alexander Paone

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Alex Paone is a junior at the University of Vermont, majoring in Anthropology and double-minoring in African Studies and Geography. He enjoys photography, cooking, hiking and has a passion for travel. Alex is looking forward to calling Cape Town home and also exploring more of Africa beyond Cape Town and South Africa.</span></p>

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