A Day in Ondangwa with Joyce

Joyce Nghiishililwa, the Face of FlyNamibia, recaps her first-ever domestic flight to Ondangwa in one of the airline’s bigger aircraft. Joyce and the FlyNamibia Magazine content team explored the town’s open market where locals shop and do business, and spent the night at Ongula Village Homestead Lodge. Here is Joyce’s take on a day in Ondangwa.

How was your first experience on a scheduled flight in a bigger aircraft with FlyNamibia?

Well, my experience with FlyNamibia in the much bigger Embraer, used for domestic and regional flights, was definitely less bumpy than the smaller aircraft with which we flew to Swakopmund. You would think the weather way up in the sky would be much colder, but it actually isn’t when you are in a smaller aircraft that flies lower. The bigger aircraft fly higher in much cooler temperatures, definitely one of the reasons I enjoyed the flight to Ondangwa a little more. 

Not to mention my very favourite part: seeing the scenery from up there. It literally took my breath away! We took the morning flight to Ondangwa and thus saw the sun rising over Windhoek. It looked like wallpaper and was truly beautiful to witness. FlyNamibia is surely taking me to places, and to heights I’ve never been before in my life. In essence, giving me this great opportunity to see and experience just the best of scenery, service and places.


What did you do, see, experience in Ondangwa and the surroundings?

We touched down at Andimba Toivo ya Toivo Airport in Ondangwa pretty early and hopped into a rental vehicle, starting our quest to explore the town. Our first stop was the Ondangwa Open Market, situated in the heart of the town. Just driving along the main road is a pretty great tour of the town. The Open Market reminded me why I am proud of my Oshiwambo culture. The market, to me, was like taking a trip down memory lane back to my childhood days in Tsumeb. So many of the items that are sold there are the traditional pieces that I would see my grandmother have or make from scratch while I was growing up. I even got a chance to find out more about how certain things were made and where they were from. I loved that because I was familiar with the food, clothing and accessories, but learnt about their origins and the processes that bring them to life.


After exploring most of the market, we got to my favourite part of visiting it. Thrifting! The team and I bought some really good pieces. It almost seemed as if we were at an ‘all you can eat’ buffet for clothes, because there was literally something of everything, for everyone. Handbags, shirts, coats, jackets, rompers, dresses. You name it! It was a clothing heaven. 

Then we hit the road again, heading to the beautiful Ongula Village Homestead Lodge just 45km outside of town. Ongula is experience-based accommodation centred around traditional Oshiwambo culture. We had a lovely lunch and rested for a bit before we set out on an informative guided tour around the lodge, homestead and skills academy facilities. The tour was an amazing experience. Once again I learnt more about my own culture.

Later in the evening we indulged in delicious Oshiwambo cuisine prepared by Ongula’s well-trained chefs. Many of the employees are graduates from the skills academy on the premises. I will definitely go back to the lodge soon.


What part of the trip did you enjoy most?

Top of the list: definitely the flight! Everything about the flight was enjoyable, from the breathtaking sunrise, to the attentive cabin crew, the awe-inspiring aerial scenes from the window, not to mention how smoothly the flight went. After this one, I will always look forward to more air travel. I am a sucker for sunsets and sunrises! 

Another dazzling highlight on this trip was the donkey cart ride at Ongula. When we drove off for the short ride, the sun was setting behind silhouettes of makalani palms. The horizon was deep purple and orange, beyond beautiful, and I could not stop oohing and aahing.

I also really enjoyed the traditional dance performance put on for us at Ongula. The dancing girls were so authentic and full of life, another example of my beautiful Oshiwambo heritage.

Why YOU should visit Ondangwa

Number one, the people. When we began filming at the Open Market, the stall owners weren’t so eager to participate. After I began chatting to them in Oshiwambo, explaining who we are and that our goal is to entice more people to visit Ondangwa, they warmed up and even went the extra mile to demonstrate how the traditional clothing is worn or what it represents in the Oshiwambo culture. The people are great, not to mention the friendly staff at Ongula Lodge!

Just experiencing a different side of life is honestly reason enough to explore and visit Ondangwa. Our accommodation in Ondangwa was splendid, but I do not doubt that there are many more great places in Ondangwa to eat, sleep and experience. Getting that feel of being in another town will help you unwind and relax. The warmth of that northern sun on your skin is like therapy!


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