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04/09/2013

Easter break in Nambia

100_0752Post by Rachel Mitchener from George Washington University

For Easter break, a few girls from CIEE and I decided to visit neighboring Namibia- where massive sand dunes meet the Atlantic Ocean.  We flew into Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, and were greeted by cold and rain.  This was something we didn’t expect and were certainly not prepared for because of the rainless, 90 degree Gaborone weather- but being in the cold weather was a bit of a relief. DSCN0661Despite the rain, we were able to take in the beautiful sights of the Namibian countryside that led us into Windhoek.  Windhoek is a city much like Gabs- sprawling with very few tall buildings. The main difference between these cities is that Windhoek is built on hills like Johannesburg, and Gabs is flat. In Windhoek, they also speak different languages than the ones in Gabs- Afrikaans, German, English, and clicking languages that I did not recognize.  We were under the impression that German would be the most spoken of the languages here, but Namibia is more like a piece of South Africa and most people speak Afrikaans. That night we went to Joe's, an outdoor restaurant much like Gabs’ very own Bull and Bush Restaurant, and had a great dinner (thankfully shielded from the pouring rain by straw umbrellas) before getting a good night's rest before our trip to Swakopmund in the morning. 

IMG_1776The five hour trip to Swakopmund was definitely worth the travel.  Swakopmund is a mishmash of the cuter part of the Jersey Shore mixed with German and Dutch architecture, with the slightest hint of Africa.  If you were blindfolded and released there, I'm almost certain you would have no idea where you were (reality television show about being blindfolded and released at an undisclosed area is in the works with my fellow CIEE students). Since Swakopmund has so many cute cafes we decided to get coffee at one resembling Starbucks and held off for dinner later that night with the rest of the CIEE students that also went to Swakopmund.  DSCN0710

The next day was Easter, and we decided to celebrate in an extremely unconventional way- quad biking and sand boarding on the belt of sand dunes that stretch from Swakopmund to the neighboring port city of Walvis Bay. 

DSCN0690The scenery was breathtaking as we rode over dune after dune.  Eventually, we stopped at the tallest of the dunes where we went sand boarding and on the ride back we stopped by Walvis Bay, where the dunes meet the ocean, for a great photo opportunity. IMG_1801  That night we ended our trip with Easter dinner in a restaurant made out of half of a ship, and watched yet another unforgettable African sunset. IMG_1808

When we arrived back in Gabrone, I couldn’t help but to think for the first time that I was home.  Although it took three months, I realize I have finally accepted Gaborone as my temporary home and in that instant I knew that I would miss Gabs when I return to New Jersey.

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