While writing this, I’m sitting in Frankfurt waiting for my connection flight on my trip back home from Windhoek, the capital of Namibia in southern Africa.
During the last two weeks, I was exploring the south of Namibia. We were traveling the deserts, steppes, and savannas of Namibia between Windhoek in the North and Lüderitz in the South. Namibia changed my image of an African country. I was faced with a modern and clean country. Covid 19 incidence of 1.x (raising up to 2.3 by the end of our trip). I was very surprised, how serious the Namibian people are handling Covid: entering shops, restaurants, and other buildings only when wearing a nose-and-mouth-covering mask and in the entrance area of each shop a hand sanitizer was set up. In my opinion, this is a reason for the extremely low incidence rate in comparison with other countries
It was a very relaxed stay (roundtrip of about 3,000 km) to see the country and many animals besides the roads. Btw. roads: in the past, I experienced the Icelandic gravel roads and bad roads in Scotland. But in Namibia, the road quality is even worse. Most of the roads are not paved and even the paved ones are not as smooth as we know it from middle Europe. Instead, the gravel roads have a lot of bumps and potholes, and they are very dusty (dust devils can be spotted quite easily).
Despite these ‘problems’, it was a very nice trip, well organized, and equipped with a skilled local driver. This was his first job after nearly 2 years of sitting home unemployed because of the pandemic. So, I was experiencing again an empty country. But I’m feeling very sorry for the people depending on tourism. Without tourists, they can’t earn money to make their living.
My aim for this trip wasn’t to go on a safari. Instead, I wanted to see the deserts of Namibia: like Kalahari, Stone-Namib, Sand-Namib. End of November, the rain season is about to start. So, the country was already dried out. To stress this fact, we were even greeted by burning houses on the ground of the lodge of our first stay. In less than an hour, three 2-floor houses burned down completely. The trigger was a spark issued by a workman’s tool.
You might know, the land, now being Namibia, once was a German colony more than 100 years ago and then taken over by the British Empire followed by South Africa. In 1994 Namibia became independent from South Africa after the end of the South African apartheid regime. But there are still very strong connections to South Africa. Nevertheless, different than South Africa, they made a couple of good decisions: no condemnation of white farmers, picking English as the only official language instead of choosing one of the 11 local languages (plus Afrikaans and German). So, all people speak at least two languages: their mother tongue and English (sometimes in total 3 or 4).
I was meeting black people speaking German perfectly, what a surprise. I was happy to see, that the people connect Germany positively and they are proud of their country.
To name my favorites of the trip, I have to start with the animals we saw at the Lodges, in the National Parks, and besides the roads. I don’t want to bore you with a list. Next, I would name the dunes of Sossusvlei / Deathvlei where the dunes of very fine red sand can easily grow higher than 300 meters (about 1,000 feet), the Quiver tree forest (endemic plants relative to the Alow Vera), and the formerly forbidden zone near Lüderitz where the Diamonds were found with the ghost town Kolmanskop (Kolmanskuppe), a former German mining company town.
I’m very glad to have seen Oryx a couple of times, the signature animal of Namibia. They are well adapted to live and survive in these dry and scraggy landscapes. And they are beautiful. Here I have one for you, I met in Sossusvlei. I guess, this image itself is a symbol for Namibia: a lot of space to roam (only 2.3 million people living in a country of nearly 3 times the size of Germany, where we have more than 83 million people ), deserts are dominating the land, but there is still life (the green). We were in Deadvlei, a part of Sossusvlei in the early morning because the shuttle service stops at 3 p.m. because of the heat. Two weeks earlier, a Frenchman died here because of the heat. they found him the next morning terribly treated by the sun and looking like being a double of Freddy Krüger.
P.S. While you’re reading this, I’m already back at home for 3,5 days and I have to admit, I’m still freezing a lot. More than a 30°C difference in temperature between Namibia and Germany. I want the warmth back or alternatively back into the warmth. But, I guess, I have to dream about it ☹️. Instead, I’m in quarantine for 2 full weeks because I came back from a virus variant area. What the f**k. How can Namibia be a virus variant area, when there is nearly no-one infected. But I can’t change this, so I have to love and reschedule a few appointments.
Stay tuned and take care!