Oh Lord Bless This Bus. The Journey to Windhoek
After a lengthy prayer by the our hostess, an even lengthier one from one of the passengers and 10 minutes of singing praising the Lord, we finally set off on an 23 hour epic bus journey from Livingstonia in Zambia to Windhoek in Namibia. InterCape has become a success story of South Africa. Started by a Good Christian man, it provides a safe, reliable, cost effective service between many of the Southern African countries.
It is a great service but success seems to have gone to the CO’s head that has set himself up as a preacher of the gospel. Videos of him reading from the bible and then interpreting it in very strange ways are played on the overhead screen to the bus’s trapped audience. This is often followed up by a few hours of religious songs interspersed with videos shows/films preaching Christian morals beliefs and values on marriage, family, divorce, abortion and religion.
All very well for those who believe and like to have some reinforcement but it felt like brain washing to me. Hours later, two borders crossed no sleep and the recommencement religious theme a reverse psychology set in and at that point I would have happily converted to any other religion to spite him. It was my first trip with Intercape – I will be better prepared, if there is a next time, and buy ear defenders.
All the annoyances, the stolen money by one of the border guards who searched our hand luggage at the crossing and lack of sleep faded as the sun rose in a the country. The sunset was awesome.
Namibia has one of the lowest populations in Africa and as we travelled to the capital in its central highlands, we passed through vast tracts of unpopulated land. Many people have migrated to the cities in hope of work only become homeless and unemployed.
Driving into Windhoek was pleasant surprise. Well ordered wide clean streets, blocks sunny well kept houses, good infrastructure, shopping malls, and restaurants offering a variety of good food from different continents. Gingerbread houses, sugar spun churches and German speaking residents reflects the German influence that dates back to early 20 century.
We were here for one reason. The Namib. One of the oldest and driest sea deserts of the world. Some of the highest sand dunes in the world, a UNESCO world heritage site and a photographer’s play pen.
Having arranged a 3 day safari to the Sossusvlei for the week after our arrival we settled in to enjoy some relaxation and respite from the trials of travelling. Swimming in the pool, eating good food and watching the sunset from the Hilton Hotel with drink in hand featured heavily on the agenda. And so well watered, fed and rested and we set off for what has to be one of the most memorable experiences of my Southern African trip. Covering most of Western Namibia, the 32,000 km sand sea desert is one of oldest and driest ecosystems in the world. We were off to see the Sesriem Canyon and Sossusvlei and photograph the star dunes.