Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.

Africa Journal – Swakopmund & Etosha – Namibia

You know how when you are about to travel and you read about all the illnesses you hope to never catch and you go to the doctor and get vaccinated against everything possible before you leave and you even take meds during your trip that make you have bad dreams and night sweats but at least you find yourself back home having dodged all of it? Well, before I went to Africa I did get all the vaccinations and took along some anti-malarial pills that I ditched two restless sleeps into my dosage – I never caught malaria but I did not dodge the virus that spread in our tour group like wild fire while in Namibia. Welcome to the ugly (but true) realities of exotic travel…

Warning: Totally TMI graphic details of the effects of the virus ahead (to stay true to my journal entries), but followed by some nice pictures ;D

Africa – Day 73
Villa Weise – Swakupmund, Namibia

Swakupmund cafe.

Street art of the Namib Desert meeting the Atlantic Ocean.

A walk on the beach near the lighthouse.

The pink clouds are sand particles suspended in the air by the sea breeze.

Africa – Day 74
Swakupmund to Etosha National Park – Omaruru, Namibia

What an awful and terrifying day today! First started at 6am when I noticed that Nicola was continuously sick in our bathroom. It seemed that she caught what Freddie had warned us about that is going around Swakupmund. Then on the truck, one of the German women threw up in the trunk, in a way that I’ve never seen anyone, except in The Exorcist – involuntary, unconscious, gushing vomit out the nose and mouth as her eyes rolled up and fluttering only white underneath.

After driving nearly 70km and going to three towns checking their clinics, we finally found a doctor who then referred us to another town where there was a hospital that can give Nicola intravenous drips and observe her overnight. In the mean time, three other people have fallen sick in varying degrees and I’m only feeling queezie from the sight and stink of it all.

Africa –  Day 75 & 76
Etosha National Park – Omaruru, Namibia

Sure enough, I fell sick in the early morning hours with diarrhea and slight cramps. By the time Corne picked up Nicola from the hospital, picked all of us up, and we started heading to Etosha, I was feeling pretty bad and was not at all sure how I was going to survive the hot, dusty, long drive. I sat in the front seat with Nicola with the sun beating down on me and a view out the window of a never ending road going to nowhere. The cramps and nausea would come and I just waited and prayed to see signs of a town, village, hovel, anything except desert where we could just stop. I would look up at every turn only to see that the road was going absolutely nowhere.

Finally, we stopped in Outju, a sleepy town with a (thankfully) relatively clean public toilet with a nice cement bench in the shade where I immediately fell asleep after relieving myself. I’m not sure how long I was passed out before the truck drove up and someone carried me on board. I could barely move and the cramps were getting unbearable and a feverish chill was sapping all of my energy. They laid mats on the floor of the truck for Nicola and I to sleep on during the ride to Etosha. Surrounded by dirt, dust, smelly feet, plastic bags, backpacks, and rolling empty water bottles, I slept all 110km to Etosha.

Tonight they prepared kudu steaks on the braai while everyone went down to the water hole to view the wildlife. As for me, I was passing water like pee and had involuntary movements every time I fell asleep which required several showers throughout the night. I finally decided to take some Imodium and managed to sleep through the night. At the water hole, everyone got to see lots of elephants, rhinos and lions. I remember hearing sounds of excited voices outside my tent when they returned, and I woke up the following morning to find a cup of beef broth someone had placed inside my tent for me last night.

Not feeling exactly better but somewhat stable, I managed to sit up for the morning game drive. I’ve been so spoiled by great safaris that it wasn’t very impressive but I always enjoy seeing all the animals at the water holes: ostriches, springbok, oryx, wildebeests, warthogs, zebras…all in one place! This is why I sat at the camp water hole all day waiting, waiting, and waiting. First the springboks came, then the oryx, then zebras, and then one elephant came walking right towards me! After that, five bull elephants came to the water hole and were very cautious of one another. A few sparred, linking tusks. At sunset, their reflection in the pool was so clear and crisp. I hope that it comes out in my photos.

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11 comments on “Africa Journal – Swakopmund & Etosha – Namibia

  1. Dieter
    June 12, 2013

    Wow, can’t believe I found your blog again. Even more unbelievable that 11 years have passed since this trip to Africa. I will never forget these scenes on the truck, although I was quite busy having a flu and keeping my temperature down, while the rest of the group was throwing up in the middle of nowhere. But Africa has changed my life somehow. I’m glad I’ve been there.

    Greetings from Austria. Take care.

  2. puppy1952
    August 4, 2012

    Oh dear – sick in Africa is not fun! But Etosha pics are superb.

  3. allthingsboys
    July 24, 2012

    beautiful shots. But egads! what a sickness nightmare! See? I knew you were tough…:-)

  4. meanwhilein3
    July 23, 2012

    The good,the bad and the ugly of travel… also the beautiful pictures of an adventure

  5. Blog de Banderas
    July 21, 2012

    Lucky you… I didn’t get the chance to go to Etosha National Park last week when I was there. Just had the chance to see Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. Amazing photos you got… I got some of those at the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. Another amazing place. Cheers from Colombia

  6. Bams Triwoko
    July 19, 2012

    Great photos… like them.. 🙂

  7. llevs
    July 18, 2012

    If those are the photos you captured while feeling ill, I can’t wait to check out the rest! Feel better.

  8. travelerlynne
    July 18, 2012

    How well you describe this experience. I would not have known that the pink clouds are created from sand particles Beautiful photos.

  9. Robin Jean Marie
    July 18, 2012

    Your photos are fantastic, but oh, what you had to go through to get them! Hope you’ve all recovered by now.

  10. Adventures We Seek
    July 18, 2012

    Your pictures are amazing, I am sorry you fell ill. It is the worst when you are not in your home, especially with something that you have no idea what it is. I hope you are all back to pristine health!

  11. Elena
    July 18, 2012

    gorgeous shots!

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