06 April 2013
We got up early on Saturday morning, tidied up the apartment, packed the car, and made our way out of a very damp and cold Swakopmund. It was time to head back to Windhoek, and our brief visit to the Atlantic coast had ended. As soon as we reached the desert, the mist thinned and lifted, revealing clear blue skies. A couple of kilometres outside the town, Richard turned off the B2 main highway back to Windhoek, and onto a broad gravel road.
“Where are we meeting Aunty Christa?” asked Reggie.
“At Shalom Olive Farm in the Swakop River Valley,” replied Aunty Lissi. “It’s just past the Camel Farm.”
My ears perked up. “There’s a camel farm here?”
“Yes, Flat Kathy, there has been for many years – that’s it, over there. You can even ride the camels. Unfortunately, we won’t have time today, as we have to get back to Windhoek,” replied Reggie apologetically. “I know you would’ve loved to ride a camel.”
“Oh, I sure would…”
“I foresee that Flat Kathy will have to return to Namibia some day in the future,” declared Reggie, winking at me conspiratorially. “She hasn’t seen the Fish River Canyon yet, and she hasn’t walked around the ghostly diamond town of Kolmanskoppe near Lüderitz yet, and she hasn’t even been to one of our big wildlife reserves and game lodges yet either, like the Etosha National Park.”
“I didn’t know there was so much to see and do here,” I said.
“Well, the best we can do now is to stop at that sign near the camel farm,” said Richard. “I bet Flat Kathy hasn’t seen a ‘yield to camels’ sign before.”
Not much further along, we drove through a farm gate, where we found parking under some trees. Aunty Christa arrived in her car just as we were climbing out of ours.
“Good morning, Flat Kathy – welcome to Shalom Olive Farm,” she said fondly, giving me a big hug. I like Aunty Christa, she is always such fun to be around.
We followed her through an olive grove, until we reached an open area of green lawns underneath huge palm trees. Lots of tables and chairs, all with pretty table cloths and decorative flowers, had been set out in the shade of the palms, with a bar counter on the far side displaying pre-prepared plates of sandwiches and bread rolls, bowls of fruit salad, and slices of freshly-baked cake. Coffee and tea was available too, as were cooldrinks.
But first we had to have a look at the stalls selling fresh produce.
“All the vegetables and fruit are grown here in the Swakop River valley,” explained Aunty Christa. “You can also buy jams, preserves, freshly baked breads and rusks, as well as olive oil and olives. Here, Flat Kathy, have a taste of this olive oil.”
“Hmmm, this is good,” I said, licking my lips.
“Well, I don’t know about you, but I am going to buy one of those large round olive and herb paninis,” declared Reggie, hurriedly getting in line at the nearby stall. Moments later, she returned, beaming, and whispered to me, “Flat Kathy, here, try a piece, isn’t it divine?!”
“Oh!” I exclaimed, as the salty crunchiness of the bread, combined with the just-slightly bitter flavour of the olives filled my mouth. “This is divine!”
We had to hurry to catch up with Richard, Aunty Lissi and Christa, who had joined the queue at the food stall. We chose our plates, ordered teas and coffees, and found ourselves an empty table. Honestly, it was the best breakfast I had had in a long time, in the loveliest surroundings, and with the nicest bunch of people.
I smiled happily at everyone. “Thank you, this was a fantastic idea. I will never forget my visit to Swakopmund.”
(Click on any of the photos below to access the slideshow with captions.)