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Namibia, Africa Because of suddenly appearing 55 mph gale force winds at Cape Town, our departure was delayed for 12 hours that we might safely pass through her narrow jetty. (Rapidly changing weather conditions is one reason that sailing ships of the past knew the Cape of Good Hope as the treacherous Cape of Storms.) Fortunately, QE2 is the fastest passenger liner in service today and Captain Smith made up that lost time by utilizing all four engines at full bore to speeds near 30 knots for the full journey to Namibia. We sailed into foggy Walvis Bay only 3 hours behind schedule. During that passage, however, it was almost impossible to stand on the bow of QE2 because of the wind created by such speed. Namibia is where hot, dry shifting sand dunes meet the icy waters of the Benguela Current from Antarctica to cool the temperatures and create a persistent coastal fog. This nutrient rich system sustains a variety of marine life that is the basis of Namibia’s flourishing fishing industry. Her chief exports are fishmeal, diamonds, sea salt, uranium ore and charcoal. What is today known as Namibia was a German colony in the 19th and early 20th centuries and that influence is prominent today in the architecture of her cities, such as the resort town of Swakopmund (photo), where German continues to be spoken. In 1920, the League of Nations turned over Namibian control to South Africa and apartheid continued to prevail. After a long and bitter struggle, Namibia gained her independence in 1990, finally abolishing the grim practice of apartheid. The early German missionaries apparently met with remarkable success as today 90% of Namibians are Christian, with Lutherans easily prevailing. We engaged a private taxi to take us to the lagoon that thousands of flamingos call home (photo), to the sea salt evaporating plant, through the towering sand dunes (photo) up the coast to Swakopmund (photo), a favorite holiday destination for Germans. Our guide explained that Namibians are bilingual since English is the official language and Afrikaans is the informal conversational language at home. He further explained that three groups of Namibians live peacefully side-by-side; the blacks, the colored and the whites. We found that wherever there is space, a blanket is laid on the sand to display an assortment of wonderfully carved African art, overseen by a Nam with calculator in hand to convert Rand into US dollars!


Flamingos on the Beach Rail Road Station in Swakopmund Sand Dunes
Swakopmund Swakopmund Lighthouse Swakopmund Thatched Roofs