A Welcome Introduction, and What’s Planned!

Welcome to Helena and Pat’s wedding website!  Please know that you have been invited to our wedding because as family and friends, you mean a great deal to us and we would like to have you share in our special day.  Whether it’s by actually coming to the wedding and witnessing our commitment to each other, or simply by remembering us on August 6th with thoughts, prayers or good wishes, we are honored to have you as a participant in our joyous occasion.

First of all, if you are unable to make the trip to Namibia, please know that you will be invited to a reception that my parents, Mike and Anne, will be having for us when we are able to come to the States.   We look forward to meeting and greeting all of you in person at that time!

If, on the other hand, you are considering coming to the wedding, please contact my mother, Anne.  She is keeping track of those interested in coming and is acting as a conduit to connect people who may be interested in traveling and/or sightseeing together.  Look for her contact information on the Contact Us page.

My parents have booked a block of rooms at the Uzuri Guest House in Windhoek, Namibia for Tuesday and Wednesday, August 2 and 3, so that everyone who comes can stay together as a group http://www.uzuri-namibia.com/. Please contact the Uzuri via their website and book your room preference, telling them you are booking for the Cronin Wedding for the nights of August 2 and 3, as we have been given special (lower) rates. (Single room N$400 (about US$59 US) Double room N$500 (about US$74.00) and Family Unit (sleeps 4) N$895 (about US$132.00).  Room rates include a full breakfast!

On Wednesday, August 3, Helena and I will be hosting a barbeque at our residence for our guests and on Thursday morning, August 4, we will all caravan together 400 miles north to the town of Omuthiya, where the wedding will take place on Saturday morning. We will be renting 4 X 4’s for the trip due to the last 8 miles–getting to Helena’s house in the village where only 4 x 4’s can go. People without a 4 x 4 can leave their vehicle at my Peace Corps family’s house. 4 x 4’s run about 20-30% more expensive than regular cars in Namibia, but if you’re going to be doing some traveling around Namibia before or after the wedding, you might want to have one. The more 4 x 4’s which are present at Omuthiya on the day of the wedding means the fewer Omuthiya-Onakankuzi trips we have to do to ferry people, however things always seem to work out in Africa, so don’t worry too much. Sharing a ride with a fellow wedding-attendee is also a possibility, as it public transport (it is safe, but it is nothing short of an adventure, every time).

The standard sleeping situation during this time in the north will be tent. You’re encouraged to bring your own, or many 4 x 4 vehicles can be fitted with a roof tent (a standard additional option you’ll find if renting a 4 x 4). Having a tent could also save you some cash depending on where you travel before/after the wedding. You can camp at my Peace Corps family’s residence, where there will be plenty of English-speaking people, a water tap, and even electricity sometimes. This residence is a compound of few-room buildings within a field. You’ll be able to experience life as a Peace Corps volunteer! There’s a place to have a bucket bath and there’s an outhouse to do your business. Safety is nothing to worry about, and this would be a great chance to experience a bit of traditional Namibian life.

There are also several guesthouses around 80 miles away, and even a 4-star hotel if you require luxury. These are detailed later in this post.

Please inform my mom about your intentions on vehicle renting so she can take note who’s doing what and we can get a better picture on what resources we will need.

On Saturday, August 6 at 10:00 AM, our wedding will take place in the ELCIN church (the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia) http://www.elcin.org.na/aboutus.html, immediately followed by a reception at Helena’s home in Onakankuzi.

On Sunday morning, August 7, we will be the breakfast guests of Kuku, matriarch of the family I lived with while in the Peace Corps.  Following this, we will disperse, Helena and I back to Windhoek, where she will be taking final exams on Monday and where I must return to work. (We will share a delayed honeymoon sometime in the future.)

Many of you, however, may choose to spend a day or two in Etosha National Park and Game Preserve, just a short distance from Omuthiya, where you can go on safari and have your choice of a variety of lodging accommodations.  Heading back down the Atlantic Ocean shoreline, a day or two stop in Swakopmund, a seaside vacation spot with many activity possibilities, might be in order.  A few hours south of Swakopmund is Sossusvlei, a place known for the giant red sand dunes of the Namib Desert.

There is a wonderful website on all things Namibian entitled: Namibia: The Cardboard Box Travel Shop at this address: http://www.namibian.org/travel/places.htm

Please “check it out” for information on the sites mentioned above, as well as other travel and sightseeing ideas. There are plenty of pictures, activity suggestions and specific information on where to stay and prices.

And again, if you are just considering, or definitely planning on, coming to Africa, please check in with my mother, Anne, who will do her best to coordinate and connect everybody’s travel plans and arrangements.

Helena and I are excited that you are coming (or even thinking of coming!) and want to share with you and have you discover this beautiful and amazing home of ours–Namibia.

Please also check out this list of links that may be of interest to you:

Car rental companies

First, note that Namibia was at one point part of the British Commonwealth by way of South African occupation. We drive on the left side of the road here. Also, manual transmissions are far more common than automatics, so if its important to you, be sure to be specific.

Many car rental companies are small businesses. I tend to send them all an email (individually) with my requirements, and then take the cheapest–this has worked out well for me. Also, for peace of mind, take the insurance (you decide the level). Note that windscreen and tire damage is usually a separate insurance due to tourists driving too fast on gravel roads. This is up to you, I don’t take it.

 

Hotels/Guest Houses/Other Accommodations

If you’d prefer not to sleep in a tent, there are some accommodations in the area. Most of the rates given below probably include breakfast, but this should be verified.

A fully-fledged large hotel on the order of something you’d expect at a tourist destination: Protea Hotel Ondangwa. This is in a town called Ondangwa, which is about a 1.5 hour drive from the reception venue. Rates are around N$700 (~US$100) for a double room per night.

Other accommodations which can be recommended:

Oshoto Pension Hotel: Also in Ondangwa, my co-workers frequently stay here when they are in Ondangwa. A double room here costs N$498 (~US$71) for a double room per night. Phone: +264 65 240157, and Email: oshotoht@iway.na.

Ondangwa Airport Lodge: Also in Ondangwa. I visited last month and saw a double room–it looked nice and comfortable. Each room had an air conditioner/heater, TV, and en-suite (in your room) bathroom. Double room: N$455 (~US$65). Unfortunately, they have no website. Phone: +264 60 1102912, and Email: ondangwalodge@iway.na.

Okashana RDC: Located in Okashana, Namibia. This is 35 minute drive from the reception, and a double room costs N$380. Also available is a “house” with 2 bedrooms, each containing 3 beds each. This accommodation costs N$175 per person. I visited last month and saw a double room–it also looked nice and comfortable. Air con, TV, and en-suite bathroom available. The price is great, and it is the closest place to the reception venue. Service was a bit slow when Helena and I went to check it, but if you’re willing to “go with the flow,” this will not be a problem. The one thing to consider for this accommodation is that it’s not located in a town, and Omuthiya is the closest village, so if you need to do some shopping, plan to do it before or after staying here. (They have a restaurant, so don’t worry about food.) Phone: + 264 65 285312, and Email: ndtokashana@iway.na

 

Etosha National Park official site

http://www.nwr.com.na/etosha_national_park.html

Currency Exchange Rate: Namibian dollar/US dollar

http://themoneyconverter.com/NAD/USD.aspx

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