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Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Namibia

Why Namibia was Right for "Brangelina"

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Swakopmund in Namibia, the town Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie may have their baby in

Swakopmund, Namibia

Sjaak Zijlma
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie decided to have their baby in Namibia. I saluted this as a wise choice and I'm sure the many small hotel owners around Swakopmund and Walvis Bay agreed with me. Their daughter was born on 27 May, 2006 at a small hospital near Swakopmund.

If you want to avoid hordes of paparazzi then Namibia is a smart option. There are only a few flights a week from Europe (London and Frankfurt) and they fill up months in advance. You can also fly to South Africa and make your way to Namibia from there. There are plenty of flights from South Africa to Windhoek and there's also an excellent bus service from Cape Town for those on a budget.

Traveling in Namibia is Comfortable

While the media were making great play about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie having their child in (shock, horror) a developing country, Namibia is really quite modern. For those who have a little money, the private hospitals are excellent, restaurants serve western fare, accommodations are clean and modern, English is widely spoken, it's one of the safest countries in Africa, and people are very friendly.

Namibia is also remarkably beautiful and very sparsely populated, so if you're looking for some wide open spaces with no one bothering you, Namibia is a good choice. The population of Namibia is just under 2 million people and they live in an area that covers 500,000 square miles. This means Brad Pitt could ride a quad bike on the dunes without too much fear of bumping into anyone.

Namibia is a Great Family Destination

With small kids you can't really go wrong in Namibia. The roads are mostly dirt but excellent nevertheless. Renting a car is essential and that makes it good for families since you have the flexibility to stop whenever you want. There are gas stations and small German bakeries in the tiniest towns along the main roads which make it very convenient. Etosha National Park is one of the best Wildlife Parks in Southern Africa and there are plenty of accommodations available that kids will love. You can either camp and cook delicious boerewors on an open fire or enjoy the lodges with swimming pools.

The coast isn't too good for swimming because the water can get quite rough and it's freezing. But the sand dunes are fun to climb and roll down, and if your kids are old enough, you can try a little sand boarding. The shipwrecks along the Skeleton Coast (north) are also bound to fascinate every kid. If you like the surreal, check out a place called Gross Barmen for some good swimming. These are natural springs converted into a swimming pool just north of the capital Windhoek, a good stop over on the way to the coast. You can get t-shirts and stickers with "Gross Barmen" written on them for all your friends in the service industry back home.

Most of Namibia is also malaria-free and this is a very nice change from the rest of the continent further north. Getting the kids to swallow bitter malaria prophylactics is not always easy.

Swakopmund and the Burning Shore Lodge

Swakopmund is a popular getaway for every Namibian. The deep-sea fishing is excellent and there's a nice little casino in town. For those working in the capital Windhoek, the cool ocean air offers some respite from the summer heat. There's not a whole lot to it, but Swakopmund is a clean German-looking town with a holiday feel.

Angelina and Brad rented out the entire Burning Shore Lodge which lies just between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. The area the lodge is in is known as "Legoland" by the locals because of its odd architecture. Most reports called the Lodge "luxurious" and while it's comfortable, a regular night wouldn't cost you more than about $100 and that includes breakfast. There are some shaky digital pictures that a couple of enterprising Namibians are offering to sell to the paparazzi. The photos show the outside of the property just in case you're curious about the view the Pitt-Jolie family was enjoying.

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