Once bitten, twice shy: Northerners not stranded

10 January 2022 | Local News

TUYEIMO HAIDULA

OSHAKATI

Hundreds of people who travel from the northern regions back to the southern parts of the country for work and school were not left stranded this time around.

The holidaymakers, many of whom had to be back at work on Monday, found transport on buses at the Okatana Service Station and the Aupa Indongo Open Market in Oshakati.

When Namibian Sun visited the two spots on Thursday, most buses remained empty, waiting for customers to make their way to the loading areas.

Coastal route

Those travelling longer distances such as Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Oranjemund were the ones who seemed to be struggling to find transport.

Some of the stranded travellers interviewed by Namibian Sun expressed frustration at the lack of transport, as they wanted to travel back to the coast while others needed to be dropped off at various towns along the B1 national road.

Lahja Kandiwapa said she had waited at Okatana Service Station since 07:00 with her three children, who had to return to Oranjemund for school but moved to Aupa Indongo Open Market as there was no transport that side. By 14:00 she had still not found transport. Kandiwapa said she did the same on Wednesday.

“We cannot get transport. I am worried my children will not make it on time to prepare for returning to school. I hope today they will get. If I do not manage, I will have to send them to Windhoek on Friday and they continue their journey from there,” she said.

The 2022 academic year is starting today.

Left early

A bus driver from Oshakati to Windhoek, Amini Sem, said this year the situation is calmer because many people started travelling back earlier than usual.

In the past, the buses used the opportunity to overcharge those travelling shorter distances, as they had to pay the full N$350 fare normally paid only by those traveling to Windhoek.

“In the past, people could be camping there for years under that shade, waiting to scramble for the next bus which arrives first the next morning.

“Some people left immediately after Christmas. Others after New Year. Only a few waited to leave at the last minute,” Sem said.

A trip to Walvis Bay costs N$400 and the price keeps increasing as the traveller moves further south.

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