Always on the lookout for a good adventure (well, I am anyway), my husband and I decided to make a weekend out of a business trip I had to make to Windhoek. Armed with nothing more than a general idea that we could have some lovely German Food and perhaps see a little more of another country we set out on Friday evening and landed in Windhoek. Let me stop anyone thinking of engaging in something like this right now – certainly if you are thinking of heading for Namibia.For a country that is a Tourist Mecca, where every second advert from the minute you arrive in the customs hall advertises tempting tourists experiences, to the never ending flow of safari vehicles and tourists – the locals are appallingly informed about their own country and in fact their own city. They are delightfully free with as much information you could wish for – all of it WRONG !!
Never arrive here unless you have everything completely tied up and pre- booked.
• Do not try and fly to Swakopmund over a weekend – there are no flights!!
• Do not try and drive to Swakopmund ( a three hour journey) over a weekend as no one will hire you a car in case you steal it – something the Avis Lady was very happy to tell us when we enquired. Why you only want to steal one of their cars on a Saturday or a Sunday is a mystery to me.
• Do not try and catch a shuttle to Swakopmund over a weekend – the tourist information bureau where you book the tickets is closed and no one can give you any information other than it goes and comes back – Oh yes and it left three minutes ago and we think they are still in the area but they are not answering their cell phone and the number on their flyer is obsolete
• Do not ask any hotel receptionist to help you do anything than actually check you into the Hotel – they are willing and polite but have no idea where anything is, what time anything opens or how to get there
• Do not ask a Hotel receptionist to book you on a local guided tour of anything – mountains, cheetah feeding etc – even though the brochure is on their desk in the Hotel. In fact don’t even open a brochure, the information is completely obscure and times are all incorrect – Yes we can take you on a game drive but you have to sit at the Farm restaurant for three hours before the game drive actually leaves – Why exactly ???
• Do not book a tour to a game farm - you have to pay a fortune for the transfer to get you there and then have to pay a double fortune for the tour itself – something they all forget to mention (along with the three hour wait ...)
• Do not try and find a German Restaurant unless you know its name – no amount of frustrated web research can discover where these hidden jewels are, despite the fact they are mentioned in every guide book, brochure and local literature. Apparently on the Dining Out Website there are only four restaurants in the whole of Windhoek (not so)
In a fit of frustration we fell into the lovely Zoo Restaurant situated in the immaculately maintained gardens in the City Centre to revive ourselves with a cup of tea (The English recommend this when things get tough) and the Russian owner summed it up in one “Welcome to Disney Land “
Oh well – tomorrows’ another day!