a touch of Germany in Africa

Cape fur seals

a few of the 200,000


SWAKOPMUND.........I rented a four wheel drive and a guide, Chris Ukarerane, for my personal safari.   Yes, it was expensive, but this way I could see everything I wanted.  As we drove to Swakopmund, the Namibian terrain became increasingly more desolate.  There was one plant that added to the effect.  Eating it would kill you.  That wasn't a problem.  Burning it and breathing the smoke was also fatal.  I photographed it only from a safe distance with a zoom lens.

Most of Swakopmund was closed when we arrived.  But, I walked the town and could sense how uniquely German it was.  Actually it was bizarre to see so much German architecture in Africa.  Guidebooks said it was more German than Germany. 

It was my understanding that it would be a camping safari.  Imagine my surprise when we got a bungalow in Swakopmund.  The city owned a bungalow compound - and what a deal for $12.00 a night!  The guidebook noted it was so well surrounded by barbed wire that it resembled Stalag 13.  That was true but the bungalow itself was a delight.

North of Swakopmund was Cape Cross.  No advance notice could prepare me for it.  Cape Cross was one of the largest breeding areas in the world for the Cape fur seals (which in actuality were sea lions since they had ears).  There was an estimated 200,000 of them!  It was like sea lion sardines!  A stone sea wall separated tourists from the animals.  Creatures from both sides came right up to the wall.  There were a few areas where the wall had broken down and seal lions spilled across.  And, in addition to the land, the sea was so filled with them that it looked littered in black.  Amazing!  Also, quite unexpected was the smell of 200,000 sea lions.     


Copyright 2000 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved