Keetmanshoop, Namibia
26° 35' S 18° 7' E
Aug 11, 2008 23:45
Distance 460km

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Text written in: English

Depart Windhoek by Intercape Sleepliner bus

I had a really good night’s sleep last night. I slept for seven hours straight, which is a bit of a record for me. I had a shower at 0630hrs on account of the bathroom being available. I then went back to bed for an hour. Today is very much in the mould of hurry up and wait.

We had breakfast at 0900hrs, yet another excellent Rivendell cooked breakfast. We spoke to a number of guests round the breakfast table. Sadly one party had been involved in a serious road traffic collision last week, with a family member still in hospital. Again Rivendell staff were rallying round to assist. I also spoke to an American guest regarding US constitutional issues and travel in North America.

After breakfast we checked out, left our luggage in the lounge and made our way to the pool. There are worse places to spend a few hours! The kids did a bit of paddling and leaf racing. You put a leaf in one side of the pool, blow and splash until one reaches the other side. Children are very good at making entertainment out of absolutely nothing!

At 1100hrs I walked into central Windhoek with Erin, leaving all my valuables with Ruth. You feel somewhat liberated without credit cards, significant amounts of cash, passports and cameras. We visited St Mary’s Cathedral (RC). We didn’t actually go into the main church but visited a couple of side chapels. To gain access to the church you have to call at the church office at the side of the cathedral. We walked along Werner List Street to Post Street Mall and then Wernhil Park Shopping Centre. We bought some supplies for the bus journey at Pick n’ Pay. En route back to Rivendell we were accompanied by the young English student whom we saw on the journey to and from Livingstone. He is off back to the UK tomorrow. I wished him all the best for university (York) and we parted company outside The Cardboard Box backpackers. Back at Rivendell I wrote a couple of cards and copied photographs onto the laptop.

At 1530hrs we took a taxi from Rivendell to the Intercape Depot in Galilei Street, Windhoek. It cost N$100, which used up the last of our Namibian money. Rather expensive but at least we were in the right place, ready to commence our return journey to South Africa. As I have noted before, all the main international buses appear to arrive and depart around the same time. At the depot the buses for Cape Town, Johannesburg and Livingstone were getting ready to depart. At least we had the prospect of travel on the Sleepliner service to Cape Town. I have had enough of Mainliner buses.

We left the depot around 1645hrs and drove the short distance to the main pick up point on Independence Avenue. I prefer to avoid the scrum, hence getting on at the depot. By the time luggage and passengers were loaded it was 1800hrs. It was interesting to watch all the other passengers getting on the Mainliners. I wished them all the best but would not change places with them. I thought about out time in Livingstone and was glad we went, however I would not travel that far by coach again.

We headed south as darkness fell. We were soon out of Windhoek and heading across monotonous desert. I could make out the scenery in the moonlight. Our seats were comfortable and the bus was not too cold. The attendant began our journey with a prayer and then played Flywheel again on the in-coach DVD system. I liked it the first time and was happy to watch it again.

It was 2330hrs before we arrived in Keetmanshoop on the main B1 highway south. We passed the Luderitz turnoff and I felt a twinge of regret that we did not have enough time to go 200 miles west. Another time perhaps? It was on the 12th May 1883 that the German Imperial flag was first raised at Angra Pequena by Adolf Luderitz. The rest as they say is history.

We stopped at the Engen service station had the opportunity to use the facilities and purchase items from the shop or Wimpy. In stark contrast to travelling by train I eat and drink very little on a bus. This saves having to use the bus toilet or some of the less savoury facilities at service stations en route. In truth, facilities on the Windhoek/Cape Town route are first class. It is on the Livingstone route that facilities are of a variable standard and sometimes cost money to use. I take my hat off to the Engen service stations south of Windhoek, with their 1 Stop Shops and Wimpy franchise.

The town of Keetmanshoop is located 297 miles south of Windhoek, the capital of the country. The town is one of the oldest in Namibia and effectively is a capital of the south. The original settlement named Modderfontein dates back to the early 19th century and was established due to presence of fresh water springs. In 1800s Keetmanshoop was both a mission station and a trading post. A fort was established in town in 1894 following the arrival of German settlers. Many soldiers settled in the area buying farms which lead to Keetmanshoop being a centre supporting local farming community. The railway line to Keetmanshoop and further to Luderitz was completed in 1908.”

I had considered taking the train to Keetmanshoop from Windhoek, which arrives around 0700hrs. The problem is that there are no viable onward connections to South Africa, save taking the bus. There is a train twice a week from Keetmanshoop to Karasburg but this still leaves passengers short of the border. Perhaps TransNamib and Spoornet should start operating reliable quality rail services between Cape Town and Windhoek, along the lines of the Premier Classe service from Johannesburg to the Cape?

Photos / videos of "Depart Windhoek by Intercape Sleepliner bus":

The Intercape Sleepliner Bus gets ready to leave Windhoek Depot for Cape Town. Erin & Ailsa Burnett at the Intercape Bus Depot, Windhoek, Namibia. Supreme Court building, Windhoek, Namibia. Ruth, Erin & Ailsa Burnett on the Intercape Sleepliner service, ready to depart from Windhoek en route to Cape Town. Duncan Burnett on the Intercape Sleepliner service, ready to depart from Windhoek en route to Cape Town. Sunset behind the Kalahari Sands Hotel, Windhoek, Namibia. Duncan Burnett on the Intercape Sleepliner service, ready to depart from Windhoek en route to Cape Town.