In this week’s “Where Is…?” guest interview, please welcome Tracey from Journal of a City Girl.
Tracey, and her husband Ryan, are a South African couple that packed up their home and cat and shipped their life across the border to Namibia. They decided to try out a semi-nomadic lifestyle of living, working and travelling to a different country every few years.
Tracey was not able to work in Namibia, due to very strict work permit legislation and so her blog, Journal of a City Girl, was born as a way to document their adventures, misadventures and life as an expat across the globe.
Hi Tracey! How does life in Namibia compare to South Africa?
We moved to Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. The country is large and we moved into the biggest city, yet it felt tiny in comparison to what we were used to. When we arrived, Windhoek had a total of two shopping malls and no movie theatre (there is only one in the entire country, 400km away)
Otherwise day to day life in Windhoek is not dramatically different, mainly because they take their cues from South Africa, all the shops are the same, everyone speaks English, even the South African currency is accepted everywhere.
What is the weather like at this time of year?
Namibia is a desert and sun shines 300 days a year, so it is hot all the time. The temperature drops a few degrees in winter but the sun still shines and rainy days are rare.
It’s comical to see the locals in the winter, all wrapped up in scarves, beanies, gloves and trench coats and it’s actually a rather mild day – what most Europeans or Canadians would consider a hot summer’s day and the Namibian are all suited up.
Haha, I remember finding this quite funny when I was in places like Tanzania and Vietnam too!
Where are you living?
We rented a town house in the very new and developing suburb of Klein Kuppe, Windhoek. It was a 15 minute drive out of the CBD and literally behind our town house was the end of the city.
What activities did you get up to?
Looking around you will quickly notice there is a huge chunk of the population missing (19- 35 year olds) most teenagers go off to university in South Africa or Germany, then stay there as the job opportunities are better and life is more exciting.
The country is made up of young families raising children and retirees. Not a whole lot of exciting things happen for people in our age group (working, no children). So we travelled, watched a lot of sunsets and had many afternoon barbecues.
Can you recommend any things to do for first-time travellers to Namibia?
The beauty of Namibia is the whole country is an “undiscovered gem”. In comparison to most destinations in Europe or even South Africa where there are spots crawling with tourists, over-priced attractions where you cannot move through the masses. Even when travelling around Namibia during peak tourist season (June – August) you are almost guaranteed not to see a soul and have the whole sight to yourself.
We visited Fish River Canyon (the second largest in the world) in August and we only saw one other car at the canyon. We also went to Sossusvlei (the oldest desert in the world) and it felt like we were the only people there.
The only place you will encounter “crowds” is in Swakopmund in December, as everyone, locals and tourists descend on the tiny coastal town for the festive season.
Any other travel tips you would like to add?
Namibia is the safest place in Africa to travel through, the roads are well maintained and there is never any traffic – it’s the perfect road trip destination.
It sounds like I have another African country to add to my ever-growing list! Where are you off to next?
We are moving to Toronto, Canada – from the desert to the great white north!
What would you never travel without?
Our cat, as we move from country to country she has to come with us (call me a crazy cat lady). I would also never select a country where she’d be quarantined, I just don’t think it is fair and she is a mini diva and would not cope.
And finally, what has been your favourite destination so far?
I loved our time in Namibia, it made me realise my true travel passion is to seek out off the beaten path destinations. Of course I want to stand atop the Eiffel Tower and walk the Great Wall of China but I think there are so many hidden gems waiting to be uncovered.
Got an interesting place you’d like to share with me and my readers? If you would like to be featured on “Where Is…?” then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.