Namibia in Southern Africa is a place where you feel like you have left Earth and arrived on another planet. Namibia inspires, hypnotises and steals you. The local bushmen call it “the land God made in anger”, however I have never seen such raw beauty in all my travels on this Africa tour.
My first taste of Namibian adventure was searching for nocturnal wildlife in Etosha National Park. We set off into the darkness with a red floodlight. I see rhinos drinking at a waterhole, giraffes walking awkwardly and hyenas roaming the dark. I hear zebra hoofs pounding the savannah, yelping as they run. Behind the moving stripes is a pride of lions, striding like they own the land. It is amazing to see the dynamics in the pride unfold metres away from me.
The contrast between night and day is incredible. In the daylight the elements are unforgiving, which we experienced first hand when we visited the salt pan in the desert. Dust covers my body, my eyes sting red and my skin burns from the frying sun; a combination which strives to dehydrate your body. The heat waves bounce off the ground in the horizon. I see a sand storm at the corner of my eye.
It's hard to believe that survival is possible in this landscape. The San Bushmen have lived in the cruel elements of Namibia for centuries, connecting their hearts to the soil. A short man stands with bare feet in the hot sand, wearing a brown loin cloth. He clicks a joke back to his tribe sitting in the shade and they all laugh together. Their beautiful language is a variation of clicking sounds and local tongue.
We set out on a trek with him and his hunters in the hot sweltering Africa sun. The land is severe with sharp thorn bushes, dry dust and large dung beetles roaming about. It's not long before the five Bushmen find a small green plant amongst the crispy vegetation. A petite woman wearing only a tattered tanned cloth and a seed necklace starts digging up the plant, searching for the coconut sized root. The local tribesman shaves the root and squeezes it to show water trickling out into his palm. After tasting the bitter root water he replants it for the next person.
We continue through the dry land watching the Bushmen shave bark from trees to smoke with rabbit dung in substitute of tobacco. He shows us the tree roots that aid muscle pain, eye problems, fever, heart conditions and inducing birth. It is incredible to see how these people survive in the world’s harshest landscape. Their connection to the earth and their peaceful nature is mesmerizing. They help their follow man by leaving markings on trees where they have found water. It is inspiring to see the old customs of their culture still being practised today.
My adventure through the vast lands of Namibia has been guided by Intrepid. I have drunk wine at sunset on the rim of Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world; climbed Dune 45 in Sesriem before dawn to see a breathtaking sunset warm up the golden terracotta mountains; camped in barren land underneath sharp rocky peaks; stood in 39 degree heat on the Tropic of Capricorn; and visited ancient rock art drawn by the San Bushmen 2000 years ago.
After all Namibia has shown me, my favourite time of day is dusk. It is a time which spins you off into another dimension. As the sun leaves another African day, the black and purple sky is pricked with silver spots. The stars sparkle and form constellations, a cosmic paradise. The moon rises quickly and I fall asleep in the middle of a flat crispy land as snakes and scorpions roam the ground.
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