When Namibia set out – 17 years ago – to become the gateway to Southern Africa, it wasn’t taken very seriously. Now it’s increasingly likely that it will have the last laugh.
To most South Africans, Namibia is nothing more than a convenient and affordable holiday destination on our doorstep. And with good reason. It’s a wonderful country with otherworldly landscapes, abundant wildlife and the biggest night skies you’ll ever clap eyes on. One of the most popular spots is the quaint coastal town of Swakopmund, Namibia’s fastestgrowing tourist destination. Swakop draws visitors from all over the globe, with the incongruity of German colonial buildings built on the edge of an African desert, the allure of the treacherous Skeleton Coast and the promise of 1,500-year-old welwitschias growing in the so-called Moon Landscape. What Weiss-sipping, pumpernickel-munching tourists don’t know is that, barely a mile from the town’s iconic wooden jetty, an ever-swelling army of trucks is ferrying cargo from the port at Walvis Bay (35km away), through the outskirts of Swakop, and onwards to destinations all across Southern Africa.