Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Naukluft Hiking Trail #12 - And then, suddenly, it was over

So we arrived back at  the starting point of our Naukluft expedition not too long after lunchtime having completed eight days of scenic hiking. Where we were met and checked in by a slightly bemused Man Behind The Desk.

We didn't have much time to hang about, which was a pity. There's always a need to decompress after an intense experience like this. But a long drive home to Johannesburg awaited us. Besides, Adeline and I had our next adventure awaiting us.

Let me explain, and tourism people in Namibia, listen up.

While planning the Naukluft hike the two of us decided to spend an extra two weeks in Namibia, with plans to travel to Sesriem, Swakopmund and perhaps up to the Kunune river. We weren't enthusiastic about camping after ten days of roughing it,  preferring to rather stay over in a handful of mid-priced lodges along the way.

However after spending a few nights researching accommodation it was perfectly clear that lodging in Namibia is EXPENSIVE. A very average three star establishment will set you back R1 800 per night,  and R2 500 isn't unheard of. A special location is best not spoken of in Rands, but rather in Euro, even if it just sounds more affordable, which of course it isn't. In addition guest reviews of most places were very luke-warm, which points to average facilities and service being the norm.

Seriously, I couldn't find anything within a reasonable budget to stay over at in the whole of Namibia, except for two or three very delapitated self-catering places. So we started looking for somewhere else with nice scenery to comfortably put our weary feet up after Naukluft. Cut a long story short, we settled on Ireland because, one, no visas required, and two, we could spend two weeks in Ireland for less that we would pay in Namibia, Emirates flight included. I know, sounds crazy, but there you have it. Namibia is clearly not interested in South African tourists, preferring Euro-spending Germans.

Dunloe, Ireland.
And that's how we came to say a hasty goodbye to our fellow hikers outside the reception office of Naukluft. We had a flight to catch to Dublin from ORTIA in Johannesburg in two days' time, and a good 1 700km journey still lay ahead of us.


The Naukluft should be on every serious hiker's to-do list, period. It rolls every challenge found on different types of hikes into one, and a little more of each. It's further, it's steeper, it's colder (and hotter in summer) but it's also the most beautiful and scenic hike I've done. It's tough yes, but don't believe the exaggerations. With decent equipment, sustenance and a reasonable level of fitness you can do it. I did it, and I'm no Virgin Active junkie.

So go do it.

You can see all the pics from Naukluft in my Flickr gallery.

No comments:

Post a Comment