If you find yourself at Windhoek Truck Port at the crisp crack of dawn, chances are you’re on the brink of a Namibian adventure.
Though its nowhere I’ve ever been before, the travellers toting overnight bags under the still dark sky seem to appreciate that the large Shell service station is, in fact, a gateway to the Kalahari and Namib deserts, the Fish River Canyon, Swakopmund, Damaraland and the Etosha National Park.
The chariots that arrive and await are Gondwana Collection’s Go2 Traveller Transfers which disperse from the truck port each morning. Operational since June last year, the Go2s which can be booked online provide nine transfer routes to Namibia’s most sought after destinations.
A quick scan of the people boarding the Mercedez-Benz Sprinter destined for Namib Desert Lodge reveals a diverse demographic.
One European woman in her mid-50s travelling solo and looking for someone to split the cost of a helicopter ride over the sprawling sand sea. The older British bloke who declines because he’s on a budget. Three local and German millennial and Gen Z journalists as well as an elderly Afrikaans couple joining an expert-led excursion to the mysterious fairy circles of the Namib Desert. And finally, two international tourists who catch the Gondwana ride but push on to different accommodation because the Go2 transfers aren’t strictly for people staying at the travel company’s lodges.
As I use the service for the first time and our friendly driver stops in Rehoboth and at Solitaire to allow bathroom breaks and snack purchases, the solo traveller in me does a happy dance.
Travelling through Namibia can be a bit daunting.
The distance between Windhoek and some of the country’s prime destinations are long. Transport by way of car rental can be beyond one’s budget, especially should you want to go solo and can’t split the considerable cost. Also, who wants to drive for what feels like millennia rather than sitting back, eating snacks and really immersing oneself in Namibia’s unparalleled scenery?
Conceptually, I dig it and have nothing but kudos for Gondwana’s constant push to develop in line with global travel trends. According to an August 2022 report by World Travel Market, solo travel has grown exponentially since the pandemic. At the time of publication, solo travel made up 17% of global travel and, curiously, more women travel solo than men.
Practically, the ride is as smooth as the mostly gravel road to Namib Desert Lodge will allow. The breaks are sufficient and unrushed and we get home and back safely which is no small blessing.
As for Namib Desert Lodge itself, I can’t say too much as the entirety of my trip was a busy 24 hours, much of it spent hunting fairy circles.
But in a summation, I can say visitors will enjoy Namib Desert Lodge’s neat, stylish and spacious rooms replete with aircon doing great battle against the Namibian heat. A large patio set below an astonishing scene of fantastic fossilized dunes towering over a show of gemsbok hydrating at a nearby watering hole. Two ice cold pools in which to plunge after one’s choice of activities including exploratory sunrise and sunset drives, self-guided e-bike and hiking trails and guided Sossusvlei expeditions amongst much more.
An exciting new addition to the local travel scene, give Go2 a go to fulfill your Namibian travel dreams whether coupled, group-tripping or solo.
-firstname.lastname@example.org; Martha Mukaiwa on Twitter and Instagram; marthamukaiwa.com