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Return to Windhoek

Last full day and return journey to Hong Kong.

sunny

Next morning we had to wake up early and eat a rushed breakfast again, because we were catching an early morning shuttle back to Windhoek. Once more we used Carlo's shuttle company and were very pleased to see them turning up on time.

On the journey back I saw giraffes and wild deer, but I could not photo them as we were speeding past in a van. We stopped at the same service station in Usakos as before, but we did not stop in Okahandja, instead we went through it via its craft market to drop someone off. The craft market looked very impressive.

Bye bye Swakopmund Beach Hotel.

Bye bye Swakopmund Beach Hotel.

Carlo's Shuttles.

Carlo's Shuttles.

Back in Windhoek we were dropped off at our new hotel - the Hotel Uhland. We were checked in by a friendly receptionist. This was the cheapest of our three hotels and maybe in some ways it was more basic, but it was still nice and it had a pool. Peter celebrated our arrival with another from his big six - a 2M from Mozambique.

A 2M from Mozambique.

A 2M from Mozambique.

We set out on foot with the intention of visiting Windhoek Botanical Gardens which was near our original hotel, but had been closed on our first visit. On route to the gardens, we passed the Alte Feste Fort again. It was still closed and we were about to continue onto the gardens, but Peter said, 'Wait a minute there's a group of people heading our way. Let's see what they do.' What they did was unlock the fort and go inside, so we followed them and asked the lady holding the keys if we could go into the fort. She told us, ' The fort's buildings are closed for renovation, but if you want to go in the courtyard and see the rider statue, you can.' so we did.

The rider statue is an equestrian statue of a German soldier of the Schutztruppe. It used to stand where the statue of Sam Nujoma now stands in front of the new Independence Museum. Then it was moved to the site of what is now the genocide memorial in front of the Alte Feste Fort. Many people wanted it removed as it represented a soldier of the group that committed atrocities against the native people in Namibia. There was a lot of debate about whether the statue should be taken down and destroyed or not. The statue disappeared one night and had been secretly removed to the inner courtyard of the Alte Feste for its own protection. I had already read up on this before we saw the statue. My own personal beliefs run along the lines that removing statues is denying history and not letting people understand how thing used to be. I think that is bad. Rather than taking statues down, I think it would be better to balance them with statues of people who opposed the people in the original statues. However, I will say I was surprised at the immense size of this statue and felt its presence to be rather intimidating.

Back at the fort again.

Back at the fort again.

Peter with the rider statue.

Peter with the rider statue.

Peter in the fort.

Peter in the fort.

Me in the fort.

Me in the fort.

After visiting the fort, we walked to the botanical gardens. It was located on a hill and on the hill next to it sat Windhoek's three castles. One of these is Schwerinsburg which is now the private residence of the Italian ambassador in Namibia. This castle was started in 1890 when Curt von François built its tower. In 1904 the Schutztruppe sold Schwerinsburg to architect Wilhelm Sander. Seven years later Sander sold it to Hans Bogislav Graf von Schwerin, governor of the Gobabis District of South-West Africa. Von Schwerin employed Sander to convert the residence into a castle for him. The second castle is called Heinitzburg. It was also built in by architect Wilhelm Sander in 1914. Today it is a restaurant and luxury hotel apparently with beautiful views. The third castle is Sanderburg. This is the smallest of the three castles. It was built between 1917 and 1919 yet again by architect Wilhelm Sander. It is now a private residence.

One of the castles.

One of the castles.

A second castle.

A second castle.

The botanic gardens is free entry. It is set on a hill and has several well-marked paths through a variety of flora. As I was wandering around, I disturbed a porcupine, lots of guinea fowl and several more birds. There is a desert area hot house near the entrance to the gardens. Among other things it contained something that looked like a dead tree trunk, but was apparently a weltwichia, though it looked nothing like pictures of these I have seen. This unusual plant found only in Namibia is apparently an evolutionary link between cone bearing and flowering plants. As I explored the gardens further, I found the grave of a Damara chief who rebelled against German occupation and was captured and beheaded by the Schutztruppe.

Peter in the botanic gardens.

Peter in the botanic gardens.

This was labelled as a sausage tree.

This was labelled as a sausage tree.

Grave of the Damara chief.

Grave of the Damara chief.

Grave of the Damara chief.

Grave of the Damara chief.

Desert house.

Desert house.

I saw so many nest filled trees. Are they the nests of weaver birds?

I saw so many nest filled trees. Are they the nests of weaver birds?

This strange plant was labelled as a weltwichia.

This strange plant was labelled as a weltwichia.

When we left the botanical gardens, on the opposite side of the road we disturbed two dassies. For once I managed to get a picture before they ran away. Dassies are also known as rock hyrax. They look like oversized rodents, but are quite cute. We came across these before on top of Table Mountain in Cape Town. There were quite good views over Windhoek from the hill near the botanical gardens.

Dassie.

Dassie.

View on the way down from the botanical gardens.

View on the way down from the botanical gardens.

Back down in central Windhoek we were passed by several open-topped trucks carrying groups of workers home. I also noticed lots of beautiful plants. Perhaps the botanical gardens had focused my thoughts on flowers and trees.

On the way home.

On the way home.

I liked these flowers.

I liked these flowers.

Plants, Windhoek.

Plants, Windhoek.

Cacti.

Cacti.

We also walked past the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre and the Pan African Centre of Namibia on our walk home. This had lots of interesting paintings outside it.

Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre.

Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre.

Pan-African Centre of Namibia.

Pan-African Centre of Namibia.

Pan-African Centre of Namibia.

Pan-African Centre of Namibia.

Pan-African Centre of Namibia.

Pan-African Centre of Namibia.

Instead of going straight home, we went first to Joe's Beerhouse, as everyone had been telling us we had to try it. This restaurant was started up by German-born Joachim Gross, who had worked around the world as a master chef and opened this restaurant in 1991. It is an odd place crammed full of weird and wonderful objects. I sat on a seat that was shaped like a toilet and ordered some drinks. After all that walking in the sun the beer was certainly good. It would have been nice to eat at Joe's but we wanted to swim so we returned to the hotel for a swim then ate there. Food in the hotel was cheap but portions were small. It was all tasty enough at any rate.After dinner we retired to bed.

Joe's Beer House.

Joe's Beer House.

Joe's Beer House.

Joe's Beer House.

Joe's Beer House.

Joe's Beer House.

Joe's Beer House

Joe's Beer House

Next and last day we ate breakfast, swam again. Peter finished off his remaining big six: a St Louis from Botswana and a Zambesi from Zambia. Then we were picked up by Tok Tokkie Transfers again and taken to the airport for our long journey home. This time passing through Addis Ababa was very very crowded and I found a large black stone in my chicken dinner on the flight to Hong Kong !!! This put me off eating quite a lot, but the Ethiopian beer was still good. Bye bye Namibia. Roll on next African adventure.

Our pool.

Our pool.

Our Pool.

Our Pool.

A St Louis from Botswana.

A St Louis from Botswana.

A Zambesi from Zambia.

A Zambesi from Zambia.

Bar by the pool.

Bar by the pool.

Misbehaving as usual.

Misbehaving as usual.

Posted by irenevt 04:24 Archived in Namibia Tagged statue pools rider shuttle windhoek

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Comments

I hadn't appreciated till reading your blog just how much there is to see and do in Windhoek. We really didn't do it justice :( Oh, and yes, I believe those are weaver bird nests - we saw them in the Kalahari. But the weltwichia we aw in the Namib desert didn't look much like this one at all!

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, I think if you travelled all the way to Namibia and just saw Windhoek,you would probably think: "Why did I bother?' However, that said, there is enough there to interest you for one or two days. I'm glad you confirm those things in the tree are weaver birds' nests. I agree the blackened tree trunk thing looks nothing like the weltwischia I've seen in pictures, but it was labelled weltwichia. Who knows???? I'm generalizing here, but from your reaction to Windhoek I'm going to say that people may on the whole underestimate African cities. I think it is because Africa and wildlife go hand in hand in our minds, but there is a lot more to Africa than wildlife. That said on our next trip we fully intend to see some animals. Thank you for visiting my blog. All the best, Irene

by irenevt

It wasn't so much the wildlife we wanted to see in Namibia (though we saw plenty and it was great!) but the landscapes, especially the Kalahari and Namib deserts :) There just wasn't time for more than a few hours in Windhoek, on our way back to the airport to drop off the car and fly home

by ToonSarah

Thanks for sharing your view on Windohoek. We’ve been there a couple of time and walk around but dintn manage o do as much as you did. Yes the n’est are Weavers nest, I am sure of that. And for the welweshia if it is one, it is a dead one. They are mods of 2 leafs only which, and grow at a peac of 1cm a year and can be over 100 years old. There is a male and female plant and on,y found in the Namib desert. It doesn’t look look like the one I’ve seen either.
I wouldn’t have like to find a stone in my meal either
Annne

by MAd4travel

Hi Anne, Thanks for visiting. Yes, I think the weltwischia, if it was one, was probably dead!!!! Happy travels.

Irene

by irenevt

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