Our room at Hilltop House
From the mall, we headed to The Hilltop House, a well known B&B in Windhoek. Our room was lovely, very large with hardwood floors, a stone fireplace and a balcony that overlooked the secluded garden and swimming pool. That evening, we followed the advice of the owners Angela and Allen and headed to Joe’s Beerhouse, which was within walking distance. It was a lovely restaurant, with canvas sides, a thatch roof and a huge central bar. The lighting was subdued and provided by ingeniously modified fish traps. Around the bar were huge tables each with two long benches that held a total of about 16 people. The restaurant, which must accommodate over 200 people, was insanely busy, although the service was prompt and the atmosphere surprisingly quiet and calm. On one side of us sat a young German couple, who had just arrived in Windhoek earlier in the day and, on the other, a family of twelve Namibians celebrating a birthday. The youngest member of the family, who was seated next to me, seemed fascinated by the mix of Canadian and German accents next to him. Joe’s Beerhouse is known for its game with good reason. The menu offered everything from the fairly common kudu, springbok and gemsbok to the more unusual zebra and warthog. Much as I wanted to try something different, I couldn’t bring myself to eat zebra, so I ordered the springbok instead. We enjoyed what was our best meal of the trip. The springbok practically melted in my mouth and was served with the most delicious mielie pap. Robert’s warthog was, not surprisingly, much like roast pork and also very good.
We enjoyed the company of the German couple who regaled us with tales of their travels in Egypt. They ordered the kudu and a venison platter and declared both to be delicious. Our server asked if the four of us would be willing to try a new brand of African beer for them and we readily agreed. Free beer! The Germans were quite disgusted with the beer and we agreed that it was watery and poor even by Canadian standards. The conversation eventually turned to the Olympics in Beijing. The couple was scandalized that Germany had won only three medals to that point. They were fairly certain that Canada had yet to win a medal and we admitted that they were likely correct! We paid N$250 (about CDN$33.00) for dinner, which included a bottle of wine - ridiculously cheap for such a fantastic meal. Returning to The Hilltop House, we had just settled down to watch our first Olympics when the power went out. As the rest of the neighbourhood seemed to have power, we called Allen and Angela, who live off site. Allen arrived within ten minutes and power was quickly restored. Still on game drive hours and wishing to get a reasonably early start in the morning, we retired before ten, enjoying our very comfortable bed and cozy room.
The following morning, in anticipation of beginning our journey to Botswana, we were awake before dawn. We enjoyed a lovely sunrise as we packed our two weeks supply of food into the Yaris. I was thankful that we weren’t flaunting our generous food supply in front of the workers, who had not yet arrived at a nearby construction site. We savoured The Hilltop House “health breakfast” of muesli, fresh fruit, yogurt, freshly squeezed orange juice and multigrain toast on the balcony which adjoined our room. It was another beautiful, clear morning, and the view of the mountains with the city in the foreground was lovely. We cringed as we watched workers on the construction site work at dizzying heights with no safety harnesses. We left The Hilltop House around 8:30am, after bidding farewell to Allen and Leopold, a staff member who had been particularly attentive during our stay. We stopped at two banks on the way out of town to withdraw more cash to convert into pula, but my bank card was rejected at both machines. In desperation, we stopped at the Hosea Kutako airport and converted some of our American dollars, which we needed for Zambia, into pula. On our way out of the airport, we saw a grey lourie, a beautiful bird with a long tail and very pronounced crest, which is more commonly known as the “go-away bird”, for its comical “go way-y-y” call.