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Once a year Venture Publications invites a French journalist to visit Namibia and pinpoint the kind of tourist products that French visitors to the country would enjoy. This year in May Aurélie Jegou spent some time at the coast and found kayaking to be great fun. Here is what she had to say:
“To choose an activity at the coast is quite difficult, considering the variety and abundance of adventures. For me, perhaps because I’ve already done many of the others, the sea-kayaking experience came out tops this time round.
Departure is early. Very early. We left at about 6:45 and the road from Swakopmund to Pelican Point south of Walvis Bay seemed long. But the three-hour round trip for two hours of kayaking was worth it because it was such an interesting and beautiful drive. The adventure itself was truly a unique way to get really close to the seals and dolphins.
Our first stop was Walvis Lagoon, which was teeming with thousands of graceful, pink flamingos on legs that seemed incredibly fragile. The variety of birds species was impressive, as was our guide Leon’s know-ledge of them. His timing was excellent, because the second stop was for breakfast: muffins, jam, coffee, orange juice. Perfect for the French palate and also a perfect moment to ‘feel’ the beautiful landscape in the early morning.
The next stretch was real 4×4 driving through thick sand to the spot where we started the trip. Leon, who is from Namyak, is an experienced sea kayaker. He gave us a thorough demonstration of the safety equipment: a vest to protect against the sun, a cap, a lifejacket and a hermetically sealed bag for our cameras. He explained how to get in and out of the kayak, how to steer it; and how to turn right and left, using our feet. It’s amazing how quickly you feel comfortable enjoying the ocean and its inhabitants from a strange, new vantage point!
The longer tour of approximately 5–6 hours includes a scenic drive to Pelican Point and the lighthouse with its windblown beauty, before kayaking among playful seals, dolphins and other sea creatures. Departure is at 07:30 from the beach next to Pelican Bay Hotel, opposite the Raft Restaurant, for a maximum of seven guests (no minimum).
A shorter tour of approximately two hours consists of kayaking around the calm waters of the inner lagoon area, watching the birds, exploring the islands at low tide and checking out the oyster farm. Departure for this tour is at 07:30 from the parking area between the Pelican Bay Hotel and the Angling Club (next to Yacht Club).
This article appeared in the Aug/Sep ‘07 edition of Travel News Namibia.