Where: Sandcastle Apartments, Swakopmund, Namibia
When: November – December 2013
Why: No particular reason except that Namibia has a reputation for vastness, beauty, silence, and solitude.
Where within Namibia: Swakopmund is a coastal tourist town on the Atlantic Ocean, a former German colonial city. It seemed preferable to the capital of Windhoek for no other reason than it’s on the coast. Housing would have been less expensive in Windhoek.
How we found it: airbnb.com
How much: Because it’s a tourist beach town, it’s our most expensive lodging to date at $1,200/month (for the Elephant Apartment), including all utilities and free wifi. We will have to pay for laundry, another first in our travels. We did find that owners were willing to negotiate in the off-months (Christmas will get very busy, so we’ll be gone by then) since we’re staying longer than a few nights.
-Run by a German couple about our age who exemplify everything that is good about the stereotype: efficient, organized, and everything done the right way
-A block from the water and the spotless bike/pedestrian lane (no glass! no thorns!)
-A block from an ultra-modern gym (no membership card, just fingerprint readers) with a reasonable short-term rate. (My back’s been a little wonky after 54 hours of driving to get from SA to Namibia and the heated pool is a nicer swim than the Atlantic with its current arriving from Antarctica!)
-An easy 25-minute walk to the center of town but nicely out of the tourist traps
-A dining room table! (I’ve been surprised how often this is absent in our apartments)
-No washing machine
-Wicker beach-style furniture that’s not comfortable for lying around and reading a book