Water in the desert – A journey through Namibia’s unexpected landscapes

This photo essay from guest author, Diane Williams explores the beauty and unexpected sights of Namibia in Africa, with sand dunes, desert drives by the seashore and lone ostriches wandering the barren prairie landscape.

There are some things that just go together; thunder and lightning, wine and chocolate, summer and vacations. These combinations are common, even expected and assumed. Namibia is none of these. Namibia’s exotic beauty is paired with ruggedness; its sand dunes and skyscrapers reach high into the sky and its deserts have water. That’s right – deserts and water go together in Namibia!

The country of Namibia is bordered by Angola, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a paradox for many reasons. Don’t believe me? Come along on this journey of photos and stories through Namibia’s deserts!

Swakopmund, Namibia Photo: Wifewithbaggage.com

Swakopmund, Namibia

The Coast Road from Swakopmund

We start our journey in the coastal town of Swakopmund, Namibia. The town was settled as a port for Germany because of the relative easy access to fresh water. The town is home to some great German restaurants, cute shops, bed and breakfasts and internet cafes. But, the real draw to Swakopmund is its location; the city itself is sandwiched between Namib Desert and the Atlantic Ocean. That’s right, desert and water – albeit salt water.

Swakopmund, Namibia Photo: Photo: Wifewithbaggage.com

Swakopmund, Namibia

If you hike or drive to the top of a sand dune you can see miles and miles of blue ocean if you look west and miles and miles of yellow sand if you look east. Both views are great, but together, they are purely matchless.

Swakopmund, Namibia Photo: Photo: Wifewithbaggage.com

Swakopmund, Namibia

Drive south to Sousevlei

Our journey continued as we drove south. The spectacular drive from Swakopmund to Sousevlei was punctuated by the rare sight of a passing car, a sign noting the Tropic of Capricorn, lone ostriches roaming in the barren prairie desert and the best apple strudel we’ve ever had. Random, we know! But, you’ve got to remember, Namibia is pleasantly peculiar! Yes, we sampled the best apple strudel we’ve ever had at Moose McGregor’s Desert Bakery.

Sousevlei, Namibia Photo: Photo: Wifewithbaggage.com

Sousevlei, Namibia

Sousevlei, Namibia Photo: Photo: Wifewithbaggage.com

Sousevlei, Namibia

Sousevlei, Namibia Photo: Photo: Wifewithbaggage.com

Sousevlei, Namibia

Sossusvlei National Park

Not far from Moose McGregor’s is Sossusvlei National Park. Sossusvlei (roughly pronounced so-soufflé) can be translated to mean “dead end marsh.” Our first impression of Sossusvlei National Park was that this place was spectacular, a bit odd and incredibly unique – exactly what we were beginning to expect from Namibia!

Sossusvlei National Park Photo: Photo: Wifewithbaggage.com

Sossusvlei National Park

Spectacular, huh?! Yeah, that’s what we thought too. Have you ever seen such red sand? Such high sand dunes? Trees that have been dead for hundreds of years, but have not decomposed?

Sossusvlei National Park Photo: Photo: Wifewithbaggage.com

Sossusvlei National Park

Now, just when we thought we had seen all that the desert had to show us we saw this:

Sossusvlei National Park Photo: Photo: Wifewithbaggage.com

Sossusvlei National Park

No, that is not a mirage, it is a fresh water pond in the middle of a huge, sandy, dry desert. A rare sight for sure! Namibia is a land of unexpected beauty and landscapes.

Sossusvlei National Park Photo: Photo: Wifewithbaggage.com

Sossusvlei National Park

When picking your next travel destination you should ask yourself – do I want the expected? Can I use a little “different” in my travels? If so, Namibia is a great choice. You and Namibia: an unforeseen combination, but one that will likely make more sense once you visit.

Wife with baggageThanks for this guest article to Diane Williams whose blog at Wife with Baggage aims to inspire you to travel, even if you have a full time career or family. For the complete story of Diane and Michaels’ adventures throughout the country of Namibia, take a look at their Namibia travel album and you can also follow Wife with Baggage on their Facebook Page and on Pinterest. Photos by Wife with Baggage

For more African adventures;

An encounter with the desert elephants of Namibia
Not that old Zebra Crossing joke again! in Namibia
Sierra Leone – a friendly welcome and a taste of Paradise

This guest article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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Why choose Africa for your Honeymoon?

Nature’s very own sensual and romantic hotspots await you in a honeymoon experience only Africa can deliver. To cite Africa as an idyllic destination is quite the understatement, from its wild sweeping plains to its stunning coastlines, it’s the ultimate honeymoon heaven. This is a place where the mass tourism of the Caribbean or Europe simply doesn’t exist and you can relax in peace. Africa’s unique and sensational locations remain hidden, unpopulated and shrouded in an aura enigmatic and mysterious.

To guarantee honeymoon bliss, sunny clear blue skies and romantic sunsets should be top of the list; weather can be a great mood setter after all. Luckily for honeymooners, at any time of year, there is always a country in Africa where you can enjoy Africa’s famous warm weather. How to structure your holiday is another very important aspect to consider. Twin centre honeymoons are an extremely popular choice in which you can combine a safari with a beach stay on the coast or a nearby island such as Seychelles, Zanzibar or Mauritius.

On Safaria in South Luangwa, Zambia Photo: http://www.mahlatini.com/ published at Heatheronhertravels.com

On Safaria in South Luangwa, Zambia

Experience the wild side of the continent

To kick off your twin centre experience and infuse you with the buzz of the wild, a safari never fails to work its magic. This is romance incarnate, an infusion of imagery you find only in films and the imagination. Soar into the morning air on a hot air balloon ride, high above the seemingly infinite plains of Kenya’s Masai Mara or glide through the still and burgeoning waters of the Okavango Delta, carried deftly through the channels on a moroko (dug-out canoe) built for two. Feel the soothing breeze of the Serengeti whispering on your skin as you enjoy dinner under a ceiling of stars or share cocktails from your safari vehicle as you watch the blazing sun merge into the horizon of the Kruger National Park. End your day by falling asleep in your luxury canvas tent; the overture of your dreams the sound of crickets and the symphony of the African bushveld.

A honeymoon in Saruni Samburu, Kenya Photo: http://www.mahlatini.com/ published at Heatheronhertravels.com

A honeymoon in Saruni Samburu, Kenya

Enjoy the mild side of Africa

The only experience capable of complementing a luxury safari in Africa and perhaps pursuing thoughts of paradise further is a tranquil stint along Africa’s East Coast, or one of her Indian Ocean Island hideaways. These tropical destinations incur the allure and charm of romance at every turn, personified by luxurious accommodation, candlelit dinners for two on soft white sand, massages and Jacuzzi baths, with sunset cruises drifting you away into a sleepy night. Each location maintains its own appeal, whether it’s Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Zanzibar or the Maldives, but the ideal of cocktails on palm lined beaches, lapped by sapphire waters can easily become a reality.

An African honeymoon at Camp Moremi, Botswana Photo: http://www.mahlatini.com/ published at Heatheronhertravels.com

An African honeymoon at Camp Moremi, Botswana

A myriad of activities await

While adventure and the passion of the African sun may warm your body there is far greater warmth found within Africa’s people. They are renowned for their homely welcomes and their rich variety of cultures and traditions.

The scent of adventure is rampant in Africa, marked by the anticipation of discovery; there is still so much of this vast land to explore and endless adventures to share. Experience the impenetrable rainforests of Uganda and track the majestic mountain gorilla, or take to the waters of the Zambezi River and canoe against the rapids. From surfing the highs of the Namibian sand dunes to shark diving in the deep waters off the coast of Cape Town to soaking up the intensity of a walking safari in Zambia, this is a once in a lifetime destination tailored for couples imbued with the spirit of adventure. However, if your idea of adventuring is uncovering the secrets of what the shops have to offer then Cape Town can accommodate your every need, a place where you can shop ‘till you drop!

Whatever you may be looking for in a honeymoon, Africa holds the key to it all. A luxury beach and safari honeymoon will provide pulse-racing adventure, abundant culture, vibrant romance and lasting memories of Africa to share for a lifetime.

This article is brought to you by Mahlatini, specialists in luxury African travel. Their knowledgeable team is dedicated to tailor-making your perfect holiday itinerary.

More African adventures

The Upside of Low Season Safaris in South Africa
A celebration of African music and culture in Festival Sur le Niger
An encounter with the Desert Elephants of Namibia

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

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Where Heather travelled in 2012 – a year in photos

At this time of year it’s nice to reminisce a little and let the pleasant memories of the year wash over us to create that rosy seasonal glow. Then we can all brace ourselves mentally to look forward to new plans, new places, things we want to do more of, things we want to do differently. I’ll be sharing my plans for Spring 2013 very soon, but in the meantime, here are some of my travel memories from the last year, which perhaps will provide some travel inspiration for your plans in 2013.

Pre-Christmas break in Gothenburg, West Sweden Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

December 2011 – Gothenburg, West Sweden for a pre-Christmas break with my husband

I’m cheating a bit here when I include our trip to Gothenburg from the end of 2011, but then it’s my blog, so I’m allowed a little cheating and we did have a great time despite the snowy and windy weather.

Why Gothenburg? I’ve always liked Scandinavia; so clean, so together and everyone speaks perfect English, and I wanted a pre-Christmas gettaway with my husband when we could eat great food and get into a Christmas mood, with just the two of us.

Happy memories? Fantastic seafood and a chat with the oyster-opening champion Johan Malm at Restaurant Gabriel, our memorable Michelin star tasting menu at Basement with head chef Camilla Parkner, sheltering in Cafe Kanold from the wind over a cup of hot chocolate with chilli, the Christmas market on the cobbled streets of Haga with the music of the marching band, the workman’s graffiti in the back of the statue of Mother Svea just outside our window at Hotel Elite Plaza, the millions of sparkling Christmas lights at Liseberg.

Where did we stay? The beautiful, 5 star Hotel Elite Plaza, once the headquarters of the Swedish Fire and Life Insurance company and full of grand marble staircases and chandeliers.

Want to read more?
Our Winter Break in Gothenburg, Sweden – Podcast
8 Swedish Foods to try in Gothenburg, Sweden – Video
Exploring the Christmas Markets of Gothenburg

Winter weekend on the Gower peninsula, West Wales Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

February – a winter weekend on the Gower in South Wales

Why the Gower? My son is at university at Swansea nearby and I wanted to get the whole family together, including my parents, to spend some time together near the sea.

Happy Memories? Long, blustery walks along the cliffs, the wide open beaches of Langland and Caswell, sitting with the papers and a cappuccino at Langland Bay Brasserie watching the rain beat on the windows, pretty painted beach huts and exotic spiky palms on Langland beach, watching the surfers bobbing in the water from the clifftop.

Where did we stay? Maryland, a spacious 4 bedroom holiday home which we booked through Gower Cottages, perfect for extended family gatherings and only a few minutes walk from the cliff path.

Want to read more?
Our winter weekend on the Gower in Wales – Langland and Caswell – Video

Family Road trip in Texas, USA Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

April – Texas, USA for a family road trip

Why Texas? My husband had visited Texas on a military exchange a few years before and kept raving about it, plus we wanted to find somewhere we could enjoy as a family with good weather at Easter and flights that were not too expensive.

Happy Memories? Experiencing a Blast-off at Space Center Houston, the finger-licking BBQ at Black’s in Lockhart, cycling along Mission Reach to the Spanish Missions in San Antonio, an afternoon wobble shooting at Picosa Ranch (I actually shot something!), tubing down the river at Gruene followed by Bluebell ice cream at the old fashioned drug store, tequila tasting at the Cibolo Moon at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country, eating trailer food, trying on cowboy boots and shopping for vintage in SoCo, Austin.

Where did we stay? The comfortable Park Inn Houston North, conveniently close to the airport, The Mediterranean style Hotel Valencia Riverwalk in San Antonio with views over the Riverwalk, The luxurious JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort complete with its own waterpark, our Holiday Rental in the Barton Hills area of Austin booked through HomeAway and the gorgeous boutique style Hotel Sorella in the vibrant City Centre neighbourhood of West Houston

Want to read more?
Our Texas Road Trip Part 1 – Podcast – Houston, San Antonio, Picosa Ranch
The best of Texas – finger-licking BBQ and a slice of pie
Picosa Ranch – a luxury Ranch with a slice of Texas history – video

Girl's gettaway weekend in Winchester Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

May – a girl’s weekend in Winchester

Why Winchester? I wanted a weekend gettaway with my sister and Winchester was easy for both of us to get to, as well as having loads of things to see and do in the city and the beautiful Hampshire countryside nearby for some walking on the South Downs Way.

Happy Memories? The Anthony Gormley statue standing ankle-deep in water in the crypt of the Cathedral, seeing the small wooden table in the house at Chawton where Jane Austen wrote her greatest novels, eating lardy cakes bought from the farmer’s market with a view of the sulphur yellow fields on the South Downs Way, watching the mesmerising water wheel grinding the grain into flour at the Winchester City Mill, spotting the artistic bollards outside The Old Vine where we had a delicious supper.

Where did we stay? The Winchester Hotel, a stylish, modern hotel that is an easy walk from all the historic sights.

Want to read more?
10 ways to spend a wonderful weekend in Winchester – video
Yellow fields with lacy edges – walking the South Downs Way near Winchester
On the trail of Jane Austen in Winchester

An early summer break with the family on Guernsey and Sark Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

June – Guernsey and Sark in the Channel Islands

Why Guernsey? It’s just a short flight from Bristol and has a fascinating history as well as a beautiful coastline, plus we were all intrigued at the thought of visiting Isle of Sark where there are no cars

Happy Memories? Walking along the coast from Fermain Bay to Jerbourg point through the pine trees, the exotic treasure trove of Hauteville House, home of Victor Hugo, eating crab sandwiches from a beach kiosk with a view of the sea, cycling around the island of Sark and eating fresh lobster in the garden of the Sablonnerie Hotel, hearing the stories of the German Occupation from Guernsey tour guide, Gill Girard.

Where did we stay? Self catering Albany apartments in St Peter Port that are perfect for a family holiday and the St Pierre Park Hotel with lovely gardens and golf course

Want to read more?
Guernsey, the German Occupation and Potato Peel Pie
Our spring break on Guernsey and Sark – Podcast
10 delicious foods to try on Guerney – video

Family summer holiday on Zakynthos, Greece Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

July – Zakynthos, Greece for a family holiday

Why Zakynthos? My sister lives on the island where she runs two hotels with her Greek husband, Denis so we like to visit her every year and explore some new corners of the island.

Happy Memories? Discovering Porto Limnionas, a rocky cove in the north of the island with turquoise water and a great taverna, sitting with a drink on the terrace of Harbour House restaurant at Agios Sostis with new friend Derek Linley hearing stories from his years coming to the island, our boat trip from Agios Sostis to spot the Caretta Caretta turtles in Laganas bay and swim in the sea caves at Keri, the Greek dancing night at Windmill Hotel which never fails to entertain us.

Where did we stay? My sister’s hotel, the Windmill Studios in Argassi with a view over the sea from the geranium filled terrace. She also runs the Windmill Bay Hotel just down the road.

Want to read more?
10 gorgeous beaches and places to swim on Zakynthos
Get in your car and drive! the bits of Zakynthos that you won’t see from your sunbed
Swimming the turquiose Blue at Porto Limnionas

A wild weekend on Dartmoor with the teenagers Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

August – an adventurous weekend on Dartmoor with the teenagers

Why Dartmoor? My husband knows the moor well from his army days and we all love the wild scenery and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure that kept my teenage son and his friends busy

Happy Memories? Having lunch at the Okehampton station buffet imagining that I was Celia Johnson in the film Brief Encounter, watching my son and his friends splash around in the river on their gorge scrambling adventure, our walk on the moor with friends above Peter Tavy followed by a hearty lunch at the Peter Tavy Inn, climbing up to the Great Staple Tor and finding a letterbox to stamp our hands, the blissfully warmth of the heat cabin at Woodovis Park and a swim with the family in the pool.

Where did we stay? Woodovis Park in a comfortable mobile home. It’s an immaculate, 5 star, family run camping and caravan site which is a great base to enjoy all that Dartmoor has to offer.

Want to read more?
Wild and Wet adventures on Dartmoor – staying at Woodovis Park

Walking in the Alps on the Tour de Mont Blanc Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

September – walking on the Tour de Mont Blanc in Switzerland and Italy

Why the Tour de Mont Blanc? I’ve been walking the TMB which is a long-distance mountain trail, in stages with my friend Julia and this was our third year on the trail. We both love the wild mountain scenery, the feeling of escaping our busy lives and the physical challenge of the walk.

Happy Memories? Watching the scenery change on the train journey from Geneva alongside Lake Lausanne and on the St Bernard Express, feeling on top of the world on the Grand Col Ferret at the border between Switzerland and Italy, staying at the fantastic Rifugio Walter Bonnati, undoubtedly the nicest refuge we’ve stayed in so far, having a picnic on the mountain overlooking Courmayeur and surveying the route we had just walked, the excitement at the start of the Tour des Geants in Courmayeur.

Where did we stay? A number of small hotels and mountain refuges; Gite Bon Abri in Champex Lac, Hotel Col de Fenetre  in Ferret, Rifugio Elena, Rifugio Walter Bonatti , Hotel Bouton d’Or in Courmayeur

If you plan to go
Click here to get my FREE Tour de Mont Blanc Packing guide

Want to read more?
The Tour de Mont Blanc Diaries Day 1 – Champex Lac to Ferret and a walk in the woods
The Tour de Mont Blanc Diaries Day 2 – Ferret to Rifugio Elena and over the pass into Italy

In Girona, Costa Brava, Spain Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

September – Girona, Spain for TBEX

Why Girona? I attended the TBEX Travel Bloggers’ Conference being held in Girona where it was great to meet some of my  blogging friends in person and hear the speakers on different aspects of blogging.

Happy Memories? Staying in an apartment with Barbara Weibel, Isabel Romano and Laurel Robbins and just a floor down from Janice Waugh, Simon Falvo and Sarah and Terry Lee made for some great late night chats and bonding, eating pretty Pinxchos in a side street cafe with new blogging friends, wandering along the river with the tall pastel houses and criss-crossing bridges, the historic food by El Celler de Can Roca at the TBEX opening night party, the day out at Vall de Nuria in the Pyrenees after the conference

Where did we stay? A comfortable apartment in the old town of Girona booked through Wimdu

Want to read more?
Staying in the heart of Old Town Girona with Wimdu – video
A Sunday Stroll in the Pyrenees – Vall de Nuria
Case study – Costa Brava Marketing campaign – podcast interview with Jaume Marin

Travels in 2012 with the family Photos: Heatheronhertravels.com

And what about the family?

Of course for many of these trips I was with various members of my family, but they also did some travelling on their own that they wrote about for me on the blog;

My husband Guy spent much of August on a school trip in Namibia looking after a large group of teenage girls, where they did some community work in a local school, went trekking and had close encounters with the desert elephants and other African wildlife.

Read more about Guy’s Namibia Trip
Not that old zebra crossing joke again!
An encounter with the desert elephants of Namibia

My oldest son, William had a fun snowboarding trip in Andorra with a group of friends from university, which was spent mostly snowboarding, drinking and doing what students do on holiday. Read William’s article on Snowboarding in Pas de la Casa – a student’s guide

My daughter, Sophie-Anne wrote about her moving visit to Auschwitz with the Lessons from Auschwitz educational programme, designed to ensure that young people understand what happened and don’t let history repeat itself in the future. Read Sophie-Anne’s article on What every schoolgirl should know about Auschwitz – video

I hope you enjoyed my travels in 2012 and that you may feel inspired to visit some of these places yourself. I’ll be sharing my exciting travel plans for the spring of 2013 with you very soon.

This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Subscribe to Heatheronhertravels Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels

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