I arrived in Namibia 10 hours after leaving Stockholm and was surprised to find it kind of chilly as I exited the plane. I realized that I didn’t have the sense of being in Africa, and I chalked it up to traveling too much, so that I feel “in the world” wherever I go, rather than “in country X.” I had to head to Wild Dog Safari’s head office immediately, as we were departing on our tour at 8:30 a.m. When I arrived, I was glad I was a bit early, as there were two adorable puppies waiting to hang out with me.

We departed more or less on schedule only to have our bus breakdown halfway to our next destination. Wild Dogs was able to send a speedy replacement, but it was a sign that the road ahead wouldn’t be bump-free. Our big activity of the day was a sunset safari, followed by sundowners at a nice lookout. I was dead tired from my travels, fighting to keep my eyes open as we passed by oryx and wildebeests.

I woke up a bit for the sundowners, but was still glad to reach our campground by the end of the night. We slept in fairly large tents that weren’t too difficult to put up, but the construction and breakdown of our accommodation each night would prove wearing as the week progressed.

The next morning, we drove to a farm where mesothaurus fossils had been found. I expected the tour to be boring, but instead the German guide and owner of the farm was genuinely funny. He explained how his son had found the first fossil years ago, and that he’s forbidden by the government from trying to find more, even on his own land, as he’s not a qualified archeologist. He then played music on some unique rocks on his property and invited us to take pictures of the ample quiver trees and strange rock formations.

We continued the drive onward after the tour, stopping briefly for lunch. It felt like a lot of driving with little entertainment and I was starting to question my decision to take a tour, rather than drive myself. Then we arrived at a cute retro-themed place called the Gondwana Roadhouse that I would’ve never found on my own. There was a tree growing through an old car, and an oryx posing next to another broken down vehicle. The bar inside looked like it could’ve been a replica of one on Route 66. It was my favorite type of décor: hipster, out of place, and a little bit country.

The next day, we visited Fish River Canyon, the reason for our long drive. It was just like the Grand Canyon, but a bit more wild. The drive the night before suddenly felt much less burdensome. We walked along the edge of the canyon for a couple of kilometers and the boarded the bus again. Then we headed on to a cute seaside town called Luderitz, where our hotel rooms overlooked the water.

As soon as I caught sight of a trail outside of our hotel, I knew it’d be my running trail for the evening. I crossed over rocks and sandy beach, happy to have a chance to stretch my legs. It had been days since I’d been able to run, and I think that’s why I was feeling a bit out of sorts. The trail ended sooner than I hoped, so I turned back and continued on into town to make up the distance. I found a peninsula that ended with Shark’s Island, or a view of it, I’m not sure which. I followed a perfect cobblestone path all the way there and ended up at a resort that looked like it came straight out of Conde Nast. I acted like I belonged, so I wouldn’t be kicked out. The effort proved unnecessary though, as I didn’t see a soul the whole time.

My phone went dead as I turned back, but luckily I knew the route. I just ran back down the peninsula and hung a right. When I reach the hotel, I quickly showered and then headed back out again to meet my tour group at the Ludertiz Yacht Club, where I celebrated the successful run with a $1.50 glass of white wine from a box.

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