Namibia, a country in southwest Africa, and is distinguished by the Namib Desert along its Atlantic Ocean coast. The country is home to diverse wildlife, including a significant cheetah population. The capital, Windhoek, and coastal town Swakopmund contain German colonial-era buildings such as Windhoek’s Christuskirche, built in 1907. In the north, Etosha National Park’s salt pan draws game including rhinos and giraffes. We visited Namibia in April of 2019 for our 5th year wedding anniversary. We stayed at the Hilton Windhoek, in the heart of the city. Hilton Windhoek upgraded us to a One Bedroom suite for our anniversary and for being Diamond Members. The hotel staff, room, breakfast, roof top pool and executive lounge were all superb. We would definitely stay again.
During our stay we explored the city of Windhoek, visiting the The Christ Church (or Christuskirche) a historic landmark and Lutheran church in Windhoek, Namibia, designed by architect Gottlieb Redecker. The church was built following the wars between the Germans and the Khoikhoi, Herero, and Owambo. The foundation stone was laid on 11 August 1907, while on 16 October 1910 the church was officially dedicated. It was originally known as the Church of Peace. Right across from the church is the National Museum of Namibia ACRE (Administration, curation, research, library and education services). The National Museum of Namibia maintains two display centers, the Owela Museum and the Alte Feste Muuseum. The Owela primarily houses displays on elements of Namibian natural history and certain traditional cultural practices of Namibian people (ethnography). The Alte Feste contains displays on Namibia’s colonial and more recent history, as well as topical displays on cultural aspects in Namibia.
In addition two these two historical sites, we also visited the Namibian Craft Center, with approximately 38 craft stalls from rural communities, ethnic groups and projects that sold souvenirs and unique, authentic Namibian handcrafts, which range from jewelry to carved tree roots. We also explored the Craft Market on Independence Ave, were we purchased Sheba her traditional Namibian dress, that she wore in the Sossusvlei desert.
For two days we ventured off to the Sossusvlei desert, where we stayed in a honeymoon suite, over rock bungalow at the only resort inside the Sesriem gates of the Sossusvlei desert at the Sossusvlei Dune Lodge. Staying inside the gates gave us the advantage of staying later for the sunset and arriving earlier for the sunrise. Our first day we climbed the famous Dune 45. Dune 45 is a star dune in the Sossusvlei area of the Namib Desert. Its name comes from the fact that it is at the 45th kilometer marker of the road that connects the Sesriem gate and Sossusvlei. We enjoyed an absolutely beautiful sunset on top of Dune 45. The colors of red sand dunes mixed with the sunset made one of the best picturesque moments we have ever seen. For our second day we woke up at 3 am and made our way to the famous Deadvlei.
Deadvlei is a white clay pan located near the more famous salt pan of Sossusvlei, inside the Namib-Naukluft Park. Deadvlei, means “dead marsh” (from English dead, and Afrikaans vlei, a lake or marsh in a valley between the dunes). Deadvlei claims to be surrounded by the highest sand dunes in the world, the highest reaching 985-1,300 feet high. The most notable dune is the 1,150 feet high, that surrounds the Deadvlei named “Big Daddy” or “Crazy Dune,” which rests on a sandstone terrace around the Deadvlei.
The clay pan of Deadvlei was formed after rainfall, when the Tsauchab river flooded, creating temporary shallow pools where the abundance of water allowed camel thorn trees to grow. When the climate changed, a drought hit the area, and sand dunes encroached on the pan, which blocked the river from the area. The trees died, as there was no longer enough water to survive. There are some species of plants remaining, such as salsola and clumps of nara, which have adapted to surviving off the morning mist and very rare rainfall. The remaining skeletons of the trees, which are believed to have died 600–700 years ago, are now black because the intense sun has scorched them. Though, they are not petrified, the wood does not decompose because it is so dry. It is forbidden to touch the trees because they will crumble upon touch.
Arriving at the Deadvlei so early gave us the opportunity to spend Sheba’s birthday witnessing one of the most beautiful sunrises we have ever seen, because we stayed at the Sossusvlei Dune Lodge, we were there all by ourselves before the Sesriem gates opened and all the tourists came rushing in. We were in the Deadvlei for at least 2 hrs by ourselves, before the tourists came rushing in. We were able to get some great pictures and video to add to our collection of worldly adventures. Namibia is a wonderful country and did not disappoint one bit, for our 5th year wedding anniversary and Sheba’s birthday.