It was a happy group of people travelling on the Safari Train.
The scenery through the compartment window was brown and barren, yet beautiful in a way which kept you looking and looking, kilometer after kilometer The rhythmic movement of the train, moving at a steady pace, made one feel relaxed and sleepy.
“They say we are going to have very hot weather in Swakopmund!”, a rotund, rosy-cheeked man in a Scottish accent volunteered as we edged our way past him in the corridor on our way to the dining cart. “That’s hard to believe!”, we answered back over our shoulders, moving on legs slightly bent, with the body thrown a little forward against the movement of the train to keep our balance. Our hands were thrust into deep warm pockets of bulky coats, scarves warming our neck and chest against the constant icy drafts you find in trains. The Namibian landscape gently rolled by in a surreal type of time-encapsulated feeling. We could easily have been the only people on earth; this Safari train and its cargo of passengers. For hours on end all you could see was vast landscapes of rocks, hardy scrubby trees and more rocks.
There was no sign of human life. Sitting in the lounge car, sipping on a beer, the train was slowly but surely edging its way to Swakopmund where we would stay for 2 nights. The Safari Train is the novel idea of a retired school master who loves trains. He thought other people might also share in his passion of bygone days when train travel was possible, and ventured into tourism by organising trips on trains to different destinations. His most popular round-trip was the one we were travelling on. Pretoria to De Aar, Upington, Windhoek, Swakopmund, and back. It would take us 10 days to complete the 6000km plus trip.