Namibia: Walvis Bay to Windhoek to Airport, 21-22 August 2018

Total spent: 650 NAD (250 NAD for minibus from Walvis Bay to Windhoek, 350 NAD for taxi to airport, 50 NAD for food + drinks) + 7500 Marriott Points

Accommodation: Protea Thuringerhof

I was picked up again at 6.30 am at my hotel, and started the 6+ hr minibus ride (one of our wheels was low on pressure and required a 20 min stop to fix the issue) back to Windhoek. I spent time between napping and staring at the desert landscape.

I arrived in Windhoek at 1.30 pm (I was the first pick up and last drop off – your time on the bus will vary) to see it teeming with life, instead of the dead town of Saturday. I only walked along Independence – some cool architecture in town. I wound up eating a “burger” at a café for 30 NAD, and resupplied with fluids and a snack at Shoprite for 20 NAD. (Sorry, no pictures from this part of the trip, because I forgot)

I booked my hotel last minute, like two days before. The Marriott/Starwood merger has been wrecking havoc on their website/booking system/etc. Also, I was deciding between Marriott group or Hilton group. I wanted the Protea Furstenhof (also in Windhoek), which was dropping in category (and hence, point price), but by the time I got around to booking, it was sold out. So I simply went back to Protea Thuringerhof. It cost more points than the first night because it wasn’t on point savers. I really do like the flexibility miles and points gives me.

That ends my adventure in Namibia. My last 350 NAD (rate was actually 320 NAD, but he didn’t have change. He was going to get change, but I didn’t care enough about 30 NAD, so I told him to keep it) was spent on a taxi for the 40km journey from Windhoek to the airport. The taxi guy is the hotel’s guy. If you’re interested, you can contact Erick here. He seems like a nice, honest guy.

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Namibia: Minibus from Windhoek to Walvis Bay, 19 August 2018

Walvis Bay

Total spent: 300 NAD (250 NAD for shuttle bus, 50 NAD for food/drinks), 6000 Marriott Rewards points

Accommodation: Protea Walvis Bay

After my experience with the airport shuttle, I honestly didn’t have overly high expectations of Carlos’ Shuttle. Thankfully, I was proven wrong. I was given a timeframe of 6 – 7 am to wait for their shuttle, and at 6.30, one of their employees showed up. So for 250 NAD, I was on the five- hour journey from Windhoek to Walvis Bay.

I must be getting old, because by the time I showed up at Walvis Bay at 1 pm, I was wiped. The hotel is located at the edge of Walvis Bay, and in the evening, I saw some cool pelicans hanging out around the eponymous Pelican Bay. Being a Sunday, most places were closed, again.

Hello, Windhoek!, 18 August 2018

Hungry Lion

Total spent: 350 NAD (300 NAD for taxi, 50 NAD for supplies), 6000 Marriott Rewards points

Accommodation: Protea Thuringerhof

I was off to a terrible start. I previously researched a shuttle bus from the Windhoek airport to town, and booked their service online for a bus that left 2 hrs after my flight landed. It was a bargain for 100 NAD, given that there are no other means of transport into town. Except, they never showed up. So, after two hours of sitting in the airport like a fool, I sucked it up, went to the taxi counter, and shelled out 300 NAD.

Weekends in Namibia are brutal – everything is closed. I rolled into a dead Windhoek downtown, after my airport snafu. At least some food places were open. I got some fried chicken from a local chain called Hungry Lion, and in preparation for my bus ride to Walvis Bay, I also bought some water, given that the groceries were closed as well. Cost me a total of 50 NAD.

Lounge Review: Amushe Lounge, Windhoek, Namibia

Amushe Lounge Windhoek Namibia

Entry Method: Priority Pass

Location: Right after immigration (to your left)

Hours: 04 30 – 18 00

Amushe Lounge Windhoek Namibia

The Amushe Lounge is a beautiful lounge on the smaller side located in Windhoek International Airport. It is an oasis of calm, particularly when the main holding room is overrun with a lot of fliers waiting to board their flights.

The lounge is L-shaped, and divided into three areas. Upon entry, you’ll see the first lounging area with runway views. Adjacent to the lounging area is the dining area with a few tables and a long table/bench combination. Adjacent to the dining area is the second lounge area with mostly-sofas. Bathrooms are located at the end.

Amushe Lounge Windhoek Namibia

Food/Drinks

There are four hot stations. The food served is substantial, e.g. roast chicken, pasta, enough to make a meal out of it. There is a cold area with cold snacks like salad, cheese, etc. There are also packaged chips, and other snacks on a shelf.

Amushe Lounge Windhoek Namibia

There is self-serve alcohol, and self-serve canned soda in the large fridge. There’s also a coffee machine dispensing espresso drinks.

Amushe Lounge Windhoek Namibia

Bathroom/Shower

Available. I didn’t check it out.

Service

Prompt. Staff came around often to pick up dirty dishes and garbage.

Amushe Lounge Windhoek Namibia

Connectivity

It was decently fast, but some other guests had problems latching onto it. There are also plenty of power outlets in the side tables, but some of the outlets weren’t functioning.

Amushe Lounge Windhoek Namibia

Amenities

There’s one desk top for use at the lounge. There’s also a TV displaying flight information.

Overall

The Amushe Lounge is a beautiful little lounge with all the pre-flight amenities. It can get crowded when several flights are scheduled to leave around the same time. However, it’s still less crowded than trying to stand in the main terminal.

Amushe Lounge Windhoek Namibia

Amushe Lounge Windhoek Namibia

Hotel Review: Protea Thuringerhof, Windhoek Namibia

Protea Thuringerhof Windhoek

Protea Thuringerhof is a 3-star Marriott category 1 property located in Windhoek, Namibia. I booked it for 6,000 Marriott Rewards Points as it was on points savers. Located on Independence Ave, it is right smack in downtown, and within walking distance to food and shopping and other Windhoek attractions. This unassuming property serves a complimentary (and hearty) breakfast to all guests.

Elite Status: Marriott Gold

Check In/Check Out

When I arrived, the lone front desk was swamped by a group of 6-8 people trying to get a last minute room. While she was trying to settle their problem, she noticed me, and somehow managed to multi-task, and got me checked in in under 10 mins.

Protea Thuringerhof Windhoek

Room

While I booked a standard room, I was actually upgraded to one of their largest rooms at the end of the corridor with two panels of windows overlooking Independence Ave and Bahnhof. The room is spacious, and divided into a lounge/work area, and the sleeping area. There’s also a good-sized fridge in the middle of the room.

The king-sized bed was really comfortable, and boy, those are some comfortable bed linens. They have surprisingly high thread count sheets, and I really enjoyed rolling around in the bed.

The furnishings are dated, and not quite my style, but it was a comfortable stay. The visible power outlets were by the desk (also, I only had one universal adaptor), so it’s not quite possible to charge electronics by the bedside.

Wifi speed was a bit on the slow side, but that was generally true of Namibia.

Protea Thuringerhof Windhoek

Bathroom

A bit on the tiny side, but came with tub and showerhead. My main complaint is that it was not designed for someone my size (I’m 5”3ish, 1.63 m), but for someone much taller. Reaching for the bath towels, hanging bath towels was a bit of a challenge. Getting into and out of the tub was actually really quite hard for me.

Protea Thuringerhof Windhoek

Food

Complimentary breakfast is provided for all guests. The spread was fairly decent with two hot stations (with four hot options), breakfast pastries, and fruit. The juices weren’t fresh, and the coffee was just okay, but it was a substantial breakfast.

Protea Thuringerhof Windhoek

Service

Staff are friendly, and there’s a security guard on 24hr watch, so it’s a safe place.

Amenities

None on site. Also the elevator was broken during my stay, so good luck if you have heavy luggage or can’t walk.

Overall

The hotel is more on the homey side of things, and rather no frills, but has the advantage of a good downtown location. I had a comfortable stay during my time in Namibia, and was more than happy about the free breakfast, and the low redemption rate that I paid for it. It also helps that they very generously upgraded me to their largest room.

Protea Thuringerhof Windhoek

Review of Carlo’s Shuttle Namibia

Carlo's Shuttle at Windhoek

Carlo’s Shuttle in Namibia runs a minivan shuttle between Windhoek – Swakopmund – Walvis Bay (in addition to private shuttles or car rental) for 250 NAD each way. They do door-to-door pick up and drop off. I found them while searching online for shuttles from Windhoek to Walvis Bay. I believe you can take a unscheduled minibus for cheaper (wikitravel reports ~100 NAD), but I like reliable, and reliable Carlo’s Shuttle is. This is rather important in Namibia, considering the other shuttle service I booked no-showed.

I found them about 2 days before I was scheduled for the trip, and used their online booking form to book my shuttle. I got an e-mail reply in under 24 hrs asking for a confirmation – a good sign. I was informed that I would be picked up at my hotel between 6 am – 7 am, and at 6.30 am, the driver showed up with cellphone in hand, indicating that he would have called if I wasn’t there.

Everyone booked on the shuttle has a seat each, so there won’t be squeezing, giving a stranger an extended lap dance, etc. The driver was also very safety conscious. On the way back, one of the tyres was a little low on pressure, and instead of just brushing it off and moving along, the driver stopped along a gas station to get it checked out. This is highly preferable to the vehicle breaking down in the middle of nowhere.

If you’re traveling in Namibia and they happen to serve your routes, use them with confidence. You can access their site here, and they can also be contacted via Whatsapp (+264 81 270 4395).

The Cheapskate’s Guide to Namibia: No Safaris, Just Hanging, 18 – 22 August 2018

Pelicans at Walvis Bay

Country Number: 68

Total spent: ~$400 + 22,500 Marriott Rewards Points, inclusive of flights into Namibia, 4 nights accommodation, and all expenses.

Number of Big Five seen: 0. I did see some pelicans, though.

My country counting ways really gets in the way of enjoyment sometimes. My friends tell me about the awesomeness of the safaris in Namibia, the dunes. You get the drift. Except, these activities cost money. However, I am currently on a mission to visit as many countries as possible, with the hope that I can hit the round number of 100, before I get a job again. I am currently at 67, and need another 33. I have ~2200 USD to do it, so in other words, I gave myself a budget of some 100 USD/week to do this. 100 USD/week is a lot of money in a lot of places. But you know how it’s not a lot of money? When you are trying to get from point to point. Those long distance buses, those necessary cab rides from the airport, those all add up.

May I present to you, the cheapskate’s way of visiting countries, miles and points required. It’s not going to involve anything spectacular – no safaris, no dune bashing, no quad bikes. But it does allow you to visit a new country.

Costs:

Flights (from Johannesburg): 300 USD on British Airways. You can get flights from ~200 if you book strategically

Accommodations: 25,500 Marriott Rewards Points (4 nights)

Other expenses: 1400 NAD (1100 NAD for transportation, 300 NAD for all other expenses)

Itinerary:

18 August: Johannesburg to Windhoek

19 August: Windhoek to Walvis Bay

20 August: Walvis Bay

21 August: Walvis Bay to Windhoek

22 August: Windhoek to Johannesburg