Namibia, day 12 ... to coastal Walvis Bay

22 November – Erongo Mountains to Walvis Bay
The stone-edged pond and adjacent trees were alive with birds at breakfast time, including at least 22 rosy-faced lovebirds. 
Rosy-faced lovebirds gather near the Erongo Mountains waterhole (David Bennett)
The morning was spent travelling south and west towards the coast, with stops for fuel/coffee and to photograph wayside wild flowers near Omaruru: there must have been some rain in that area recently. These kept Sue and me puzzling over IDs (they'll be listed in the holiday report) as we travelled to the next stop, a collection of stalls selling gemstones and curios, former roadside stalls brought under one roof. Purchases were compared as we crossed the Namib Desert, the road part of a corridor of services including a railway line, water pipe and numerous wires, with several turns for the mines that are big business here.
Crotalaria argyraea (a lupin-like yellow pea) by the roadside. No, I'd never heard of it before, either.
We had lunch outside a nice café in Swakopmund, a cool sea breeze here quite a contrast with the hot interior. Our first Cape wagtail was easy to see as it walked around: there were more dozens more later. A brief drive around the town showed it to be prosperous and hints of the Germanic influence remaining here. It was a short way south then to Walvis Bay, where we were settled into two hotels within walking distance of each other opposite the strand that runs along the vast coastal lagoon. The tide was in but on the turn as we crossed the road and strip of grass: here Cape sparrows fed with the many Cape wagtails. White-fronted plovers were alongside familiar ringed plovers. A strange mammalian shape in the lagoon led to various suggestions: in fact it was a Cape fur seal. Distant greater flamingos flew across to close where we strolled as the tide receded and flocks of waders followed them in. The most numerous waders were bar-tailed godwits, plus grey plovers, sanderlings, turnstones and a few avocets. A count of 54 greenshanks was big by European standards.

Dinner was on the other side of the lagoon in The Raft, a super fish restaurant on stilts, like an end-of-pier establishment. There was one grey-headed gull with the numerous Hartlaub’s gulls; half a dozen white pelicans glided past the windows and settled on the adjacent mudflats. It felt like there was an end of holiday atmosphere as we ate, in a very positive sense. 
The Raft, Walvis Bay - a great place for the group's evening meal (Tim Hunt).


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