Travellers to Namibia seem to follow a well established route, going either clockwise (as we did) or anti-clockwise with a few interesting diversions en route. Although Namibia seems to have arranged its tourist features ideally spaced apart it’s a long way from Sossusvlei to Damarland, home of the indigenous Damara people, who moved here in the 1960s, and wildlife in the form of the desert-adapted elephant, black rhino, ostrich, springbok and giraffe.
After around 400km (it’s becoming a trait) we reach Swakopmund, a pretty coastal town with much in the way of German architecture and influence, a hang over from its time as a German colony at the end of the 19th century. There’s still a strong fishing tradition here, still a major source of Namibia’s foreign earnings (after diamonds) and so promises good fish to eat. The town has evolved a number of activities to make it more than just a staging post between lodges. We go kayaking to visit the resident seal population. To launch your kayak in the sheltered lagoon, you drive past (1) a thriving salt industry and (2) thousands of flamingoes in the shallow waters. We see jackals – the only ones anywhere that live on a beach – picking up flamingo and seal pups.
We’re staying at Cornerstone Guesthouse, a delightful little place with a handful of rooms and a secure parking area. They don’t have a restaurant so we explore the town. It’s quite quiet on our first night, with a strong wind blowing. We are booked at the Jetty which, as its name suggests, is at the end of the jetty. We’d call it a pier, a cast iron and timber construction which is probably as old as the Victorian ones in England. They were incredibly popular a hundred years ago but fell out of favour (and funds) as holiday makers headed for cheap Spanish resorts. The famed “End of the Pier show” really was just a euphemism for end of the road…
Brighton (flash gits) had three piers and Southend had one reputedly over a mile long (why?), the longest in the world, with a little railway to get you to the end, and then back with all those sticks of rock and candy floss.
Our visit to the Jetty started with a stroll in the dark along a slippery jetty, the seas tossing below in the strong wind. Not very inviting. At the end was a solid black door which, we opened, gave way into a busy, thriving restaurant. Excellent seafood and atmosphere – quite unexpected from the approach, but well worthy of its deserved reputation.
Restaurant The Jetty Swakopmund