What a beautiful country to celebrate the New Year. As well, a beautiful country to celebrate a good friend’s achievement of visiting every country in the world.
Our journey officially started in Cape Town, South Africa where we rang in the New Year with a collective of old and new friends and counted off our new travel adventure to Namibia to celebrate the end of Arik’s long awaited journey.
DAY 1: WINDHOEK
Arriving in Windhoek, Namibia we were greeted by a Namibian Tourism group arranged by one of Arik’s dear friends who surprised us all with a ceremony of ribbon cutting, cake slicing, champagne popping, and all the celebratory photos you can imagine. It was a splendid and refreshing start to the rest of our journey.
After a long day’s drive, we finally arrived at our first destination: Sossusvlei.
DAY 2: SOSSUSVLEI
The stunning dunes draped across the landscapes like paint on a canvas, and our jaws dropped as each second into Sossusvlei became more and more mesmerizing. We stopped for quick photos at the first dune, Dune 45, then made our way towards Big Daddy dune to start climbing.
It took a tremendous amount of effort to climb to the peak of the dunes, but it’s absolutely possible. Our friends who made the brave journey to the largest peak of the two dunes took a 3 hour hike round-trip in the scorching desert sun. A good tip: go as early as possible and bring more water than you assume; you’ll need it.
Right next to the dunes is the iconic valley of Deadvlei. The desolate white grounds contrast the golden colour of the dunes and the hundred aged trees scatter throughout the flat.
After many gulps of water, a much needed break for ice cream, and recuperation with the rest of the group, we made our way onto our next destination.
Stops along the way: a beautiful canyon and the Tropic of Capricorn.
Swakopmund was our final destination for multiple reasons: to attend a scenic flight over Skeleton Coast & celebrate our last evening as a group with Arik.
DAY 3-4: SWAKOPMUND
Our flight was not as stunning as we had all imagined, and lasted quite long (2 hours). Needless to say, the experience was still pleasantly enjoyable and everyone was glad they could experience it.
The highlight of the entire trip was a celebratory event held in the middle of the desert to congratulate Arik’s accomplishment, give thanks to all those who made the journey, and drink as much Namibian wine as possible.
The evening began at sunset with canapes and oysters overlooking the canyons. Another jaw-dropping scenery, this was the perfect opportunity to “pre-game” before the big surprise.
After the sun had gone down, we piled ourselves back into the cars to drive a short five minutes to our next secret location. The moment our car stopped, our jaws fell to the floor and the stunning scenery before us was too beautiful to believe.
Hundreds of candles (214 to be exact) were laid out over the desert and a dining area set up in the center. A large projection screen stood at the front of the area for what was assumed to be a surprise movie showing and the buffet waited patiently as we all scattered about trying to take the best photo of this magnificent evening.
Wine glasses were filled and quickly made it’s way into everyone’s hands. Once everyone was seated, Arik improvised a special speech to thank each and every one of his friends who could share this special moment with him. It’d be humble to say that everyone was beautifully mentioned and so thankful to have a friend like Arik.
The rest of the evening was shared through laughter, memories, sentiments, and joy as the fire slowly died out, the wine bottles quickly emptied, and midnight crept in.
This was truly a beautiful and memorable journey through Namibia and I couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of my good friend’s incredible accomplishment and celebrate the New Year in such a place.