So I was told that I would have to split my trip to Windhoek into a two day thing, as there is no public transport between northern Botswana and Namibia. I was also told I needed to book a taxi for the morning and a lot of other things.. people are very helpful and all advice is great for the road, but very often you just need to do your own thing.
I noted the cities I needed to pass in order to get to Namibia and considered the option of sleeping in either Ghanzi or just on the other side of the Namibian border to avoid travelling by night. Other than that, I had no idea how I would get to Windhoek, but I have learnt by now that things somehow always work out around here.
I set off from Old Bridge Backpackers just before seven in the morning and walked out to the main road as the sun was rising. From there I jumped on a passing minibus that took me straight to Maun bus station. A taxi would have been 4€, this was 30cent and much faster.
At the bus station I was shown the spot where the Ghanzi bus leaves at 6.30, 7.30 and 8.30. One important thing here is however that the buses leave when they are full, so by 7.15 there was no Ghanzi bus. I took the 8.30 one and it was 5€. The trip to Ghanzi took about six hours and I was sitting next to a Baherero lady with amazing clothing. Her name was Mavekea which means “they will come”. I gave her a cookie, she bought me a lollipop, we couldn’t understand each other, but we laughed a lot.
When we arrived to Ghanzi it was still fairly early and I felt I might as well continue across the Namibian border and find a place to sleep on the other side. I asked around and got pointed to a bus just next to me. It was a chaotic bus filled with very interesting characters, from men looking like pimps with gold chains and big hats, to ladies in weird wigs and people basically going to small desert villages. I got a seat next to a beautiful Kalahari girl and her 7 month old baby. Her name was Ketshipile and she was 21 years old. The boy was her first child and his name was Rooniy. She spoke a little english so we were talking about her family as I was playing with Rooniy. All kids love to grab, bite and play with my old Casio watch. Haha.
I have had a slight obsession with the faces of Kalahari people ever since I watched Gregory Colberts “Ashes and Snow”, they have really amazing features and it was magical for me to finally see these faces in real life.
Anyway, the bus took much longer than I had expected and it was already passing four o’clock when I got dropped off outside of the border. (4h, 5€)
I walked to the border, got my passport stamped and had to walk across “no man’s land” to Namibia. The sun made me think about my big backpack at home and how heavy it would have been to carry that one instead. In Namibia the immigration ladies were friendly, just remember that you need an address (your hotel) and a contact person and a telephone number when filling out the visa application. I had a contact already but it might be worth remembering noting those things down, or at least making them up beforehand.
I got through to the other side and saw a long straight road. A very long road. And almost no cars.
I was trying to get on a teacher’s association tour bus, but they were making things complicated and they said it was full. Then I spotted a 4×4 Toyota that was on its way from the border and it stopped as I waived it down. It was a young guy, and he said he was going to Windhoek. I noted the number plates down and took the guys name, making sure he knew I sent it off to my mom.
My mom is kind of my travellimg secretary and keeps track of where and with whom I am at all times. I always send her a copy of every itinerary and text her the details. It’s a great and easy way to stay safe, and to show people that somebody knows where you are.
Anyway, 30 year old Bercy from Burundi drove me to Windhoek and took me straight to my hostel. It was pitch black when we arrived but it was perfectly fine.. It took three hours, and he wanted to know everything I know about HIV issues in Mozambique and the rest of the world and about the Human Development Report. He also asked me whether the Americans already had invented a cure for AIDS but were hiding it. The ride cost me 20€, and I had arrived in Windhoek.
Now I’m very very tired and will go to sleep. Sorry about these boring technical updates – you will get the fun stuff once I have uploaded photos back in Maputo.