Despite the lack of air conditioning and any city noise at all on Moon Mountain I slept like a rock and woke up just as the sun was coming across the horizon. View from my private plunge pool just outside my tent:
Yup, I think if I spent a few more days here I might have actually managed to relax enough to enjoy the peace and quiet of the amazing surroundings:
The road into Moon Mountain…it’s definitely “real” and “remote” Africa:
Leaving breakfast, the sun was coming up just over the mountains:
Headed out to get an early start, because I wanted to make it to Windhoek in time to see a bit of the city. Of course, I stopped at the bakery in Solitaire one last time for another piece of apple pie. Third visit, and I finally noticed the pictures of Moose McGregor hanging in the bakery:
So, this is where things got a bit messy. Maybe 30 minutes out of Solitaire, I saw a warning on the “D” road that I was on that trucks were not permitted due to steep inclines. I figured hey, how bad could it be, there would be some sort of serious warning if it was that big of a deal – right? I should probably preface this by saying that I don’t really deal well with heights.
Well, after 30 minutes more of driving, that’s when I saw it. The road took a very sudden right turn, and started heading up the side of the mountain, on a long and winding road with switchbacks and no guardrail, at roughly a 15% incline. It also kept going and going. I froze probably a minute in, and was like “ok, backing DOWN this thing at this point is going to be even worse, not to mention 2-3 hours probably out of the way to find a better route, so hey…you’ve lived a good life. Go for it.”
Yeah, I’m being a little dramatic because I hate heights, but it really is a pretty bad road. Fortunately, it’s been bricked over so at least you’re not sliding on gravel. The road crossed up over the Spreetsoogte Pass which is bad enough to have its own Wikipedia entry. According to Wikipedia, the road varies between 16% and 22% grade, making it even worse than I thought.
I was way too whiteknuckles the whole way to stop for pics, but a couple from google:
So, I admit that based on these pics it doesn’t look too terrifying, but if you need to see for yourself, the D1275 from Solitaire towards Windhoek will do it for you. I promise.
Anyways, I lived…and at the top I was terrified that if going up was rough (when I looked down at the road in front of me the whole way), I was scared how bad going down would be when I couldn’t avoid looking down, down, down. Well, surprise surprise, we never went down. We were actually drive up onto a plateau, so thank God for small miracles?
Driving the rest of the way to Windhoek was pretty easy, and the road actually turned to asphalt for the last 45 minutes or so. Waze did a great job of guiding me all the way into my hotel at the Hilton Windhoek, and had no problem getting the car parked and surviving the trip without wetting myself. After patting myself, I checked into my first super comfortable hotel with great AC in a few days and went for a walk.
Right outside the hotel was a statue of Curt von Francois, the founder of Windhoek in 1890:
Along the walk I stoped at Cramer Ice Cream, which tempted me with a waffle with amarula ice cream:
One of the best parts of Africa is the streets named after dictators:
The Independence Museum, with a statue of Sam Nujoma in front of it:
Very North Korean looking statue – it would not at all surprise me if Mansudae Overseas was responsible for this in addition to the statues in Senegal and other places.
Speaking of streets named after now former (sort of, since he’s still living in the Presidential Palace) dictators, it’s Uncle Bob Avenue!
After a long hot walk, I retired back to the rooftop pool at the Hilton where I had a couple of ciders and just relaxed.
View from the roof wasn’t half bad at all:
At the recommendation of friends i negotiated a taxi on the streets to take me to Joe’s Beerhouse, which was supposed to be a Windhoek institution. Based on the literally hundreds of people hanging out drinking and eating, I’d definitely found the most happening place in the entire country. The oryx lasagne was definitely a one-of-a-kind treat too!
Back to the Hilton, where the city looked just as amazing at night:
Off to bed, because it was time to get up early and fly to Zimbabwe in the morning!