There was much more of magnificence and otherwise noteworthiness in Namibia. The massively wide gravel roads which connect the different parts of the country (only a few paved roads between cities exist), which make for an unusual driving and touring experience. The stunning and varied non-Namib landscapes, especially between Sesriem and Walvis Bay, which Sarah described moving through — having over the last few months experienced a range of unforgettable scenic road trips — as one of the best drives ever. The idiosyncratic hotels we stayed in in the desert, the first being an expensive contemporary castle (at least in wannabe form) and the second being an inexpensive “desert farm” with as beautiful a desert garden as you could want.
The sunsets. The sunrises. The walk from the castle hotel just out there into the desert, with the sense that we could have gone on forever (or until we died of thirst). The totally (–>this is no hyperbole) unexpected excellent coffee shop and bakery in aptly named Solitude (it’s a few structures strong) — started fifteen years ago by a man who fled his broken life, started anew in this middle-of-nowhere, and, loving it, never left. The lovely small book store in Swakopmund, with books in three sections, one for German, one for Afrikaans (probably, the lingua franca of Namibia), and one for English, and containing an impressive multilingual section on Namibia with many books on the colonial period and the genocide. The good-naturedness and easy-goingness of all the people we met. The personalized, memorable short week we spent there made Namibia (for the supertough raters) a nine and (for the simply experientially-tuned) a flat out ten.