The ideas and thoughts expressed within this blog are not the views or opinions of WorldTeach nor the Namibia Ministry of Education, but rather my personal views.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Big Rig Hike

As the saying goes, “When in (Namibia), do as the (Namibians.)” So Do we Did. In order to get from Windhoek back home to Khorixas last Sunday, my mother and I were snuggly packed away in the 18-wheeler big-rig pictured in the photo to the right. OK, let me ‘splain.

I’ve shared before that there is not a government-sponsored public transportation system throughout the country. In Windhoek and a few large(relatively-speaking) towns, there are marked taxis and even small kombis (mini-buses) that help people move about. Elsewhere in the country, getting around is pretty dependent on private auto and (hitch)hiking.

“Hikes” are somewhat standardized and to an extent, unofficially regulated.
  • There is a fairly standard hike fee from one town to another.

  • Drivers typically wait until their vehicle is full of passengers before starting to a particular destination.

  • “Hike Points” are known to locals and at some places (Otjiwarango, for one), there are designated areas within the Hike Point with town-signs for people to wait for hikes going their way.

  • Early morning and early afternoon hikes are most available.

There is no standard look or feel to the vehicle or driver offering the ride, though. Each hike can be an adventure.

In my hiking-past, I’ve been in the back of a pick-up truck on a mattress with four other people. I’ve been in the back of a small four-door sedan with broken doors, four backseat passengers (in a space designed to comfortably seat only three) and two front-seat passengers (one pressed uncomfortably close to the gear/stick-shift), plus the driver. I’ve now also been in an 18-wheeler.

We were a little pressed for a hike because we began the journey later in the morning than expected. Many of the cars had already collected passengers and left the hike point by the time we arrived. We were left to get in an available vehicle or consider remaining in Windhoek another night and trying again earlier the next morning. We chose to get in the available vehicle, which happened to be a big-rig.

There were four passengers in the small double cab in the front. It wasn’t very comfortable, nor was the ride very short because we stayed (luckily) within the speed limits set for our vehicle category (80-90km/hr).

We were happy to end the journey, but we definitely now have stories for the interested masses. I’ll let mom tell enquirers about the gun…..

1 comment:

  1. Hitching on an 19 wheeler. You sure are NOT traveling in luxury. I love it! Glad to see your Mom out there and experiencing it all with you.