A Travellerspoint blog

Namibia

and Zambia as well

sunny 28 °C

We can put a resounding tick next to Namibia! In three weeks we have covered over 5000 kilometres, camping (almost) all the way, and have dutifully pointed our cameras at pretty much everything a good tourist is supposed to. In our little two-wheel drive Polo we have rocked up to remote campsites and parked next to rows and rows of huge 4x4s, we have pitched our little pink 2 man tent in 5 minutes whilst others are still counting their tent poles, and we have eaten appropriately horribly camping food. Baboons have stolen our breakfast eggs, we’ve watched countless gorgeous sunsets, we’ve jumped out of aeroplanes (well, Rich has), we’ve shivered through the desert night, sweated through scorching days (no air-con), we’ve chased lions, hyenas and springboks, we’ve prospected for diamonds in a desert ghost town, we’ve looked at 100,000 seals, we’ve met Queen Elizabeth, we’ve smeared ochre all over our faces (well, Maya has), we’ve watched 40 elephants take over a waterhole, seen 5 rhino drinking at the same time, we’ve watched the sunrise from the top of a sand dune, we’ve had NO flat tires, we’ve driven 60 kilometres without turning a corner, and we’ve seen what the world will look like after the apocalypse.

Sand

Sand

Our route to Namibia from Malawi was straight forward. Crossing the border into Zambia we spent the first four days of our travels on safari in South Luangwa National Park with Jackalberry Safaris – run by Gavin and his girlfriend Rosie who were great people and showed us a great time, we heartily recommend them to anyone heading that way! The park was a beautiful place teeming with wildlife, where we had ropy encounters with elephants, saw three leopards, and countless hippos, crocs, buffalo, zebra, impala, lovebirds, eagles, pumbas, giraffes...the list goes on and on.

From there a bus to Lusaka, which we didn’t think much of, then another bus to Livingstone (watching the highly rated, and surprisingly brutal Undisputed 3, immediately followed by Undisputed 2) and Victoria Falls, which lived up to its reputation. As Todd put it, visiting the falls is an interactive experience – you are so close that you get drenched by the spray, and by drenched I mean literally as if you got in a bath with your clothes on. It’s quite amazing to be rained on from all directions at once, like the world’s best spa shower. We splurged on a micro-lite flight over the falls, which was an amazing experience and should be on everyone’s ‘do before you die’ list, and dropped off the edge of a cliff together (if you haven’t seen the vid yet check out Maya and Ric jump off a cliff on youtube, professionally shot by the lovely filmmakers Tamara and Suzi). Thanks to Patricia we also had a chance to witness the wonders of the Zambian health care system, when a patient who can hardly walk is directed to 4 different buildings miles apart only to be told they can’t run lab tests that day... (not to worry, she is well and facebooking like mad again).

Zambezi sunset, Victoria Falls on the left

Zambezi sunset, Victoria Falls on the left

After a few days debating where to head next, we got sick of thinking about it and jumped on a bus to Windhoek, where we said goodbye to Todd and Heather, organized a hire car and camping equipment, and set the controls for the heart of the (Namibian) bush.

A day of rest now before catching a bus to Cape Town tomorrow, and we are looking forward to doing nothing all day....

Elephant convoy, Etosha. The first herd of about 40 elephants to come and drink at Halali watering hole that afternoon.

Elephant convoy, Etosha. The first herd of about 40 elephants to come and drink at Halali watering hole that afternoon.


Tiny feeding. The smallest elephant we've ever seen was always guarded by his mum, aunties and siblings.

Tiny feeding. The smallest elephant we've ever seen was always guarded by his mum, aunties and siblings.


100,000 seals at Cape Cross, Skeleton Coast. Smelly.

100,000 seals at Cape Cross, Skeleton Coast. Smelly.


Camping in the Namib

Camping in the Namib


Deadvlei (the must-have Namibian photo)

Deadvlei (the must-have Namibian photo)


Dune running

Dune running


Kolmanskoppe Ghost town, deserted in the '50s

Kolmanskoppe Ghost town, deserted in the '50s


Fish River Canyon, 550m deep and 160km long

Fish River Canyon, 550m deep and 160km long

Posted by TattoodDuck 07:22 Archived in Namibia Tagged zambia namib etosha south_luangwa jackalberry Comments (2)

Visiting the natives

sunny 32 °C

Been camping in Namibia for the past week - will tell you all about it at some point.
We're now staying (in a tent) in a luxury lodge at Opuwo, North West of the country - the view is stunning!
Another African sunset... boring!

Another African sunset... boring!

It's pretty cool walking down the street as there are three types of old-fashioned tribes here; the Himba, the Herero and one from Angola (which they call the Angolan, but I'm sure they have a name as well).
The Angolan came over as refugees fleeing the civil war about 10 years ago. The women wear the ubiquitous African printed cotton fabric as a short skirt, and coloured bids necklaces, and that's it.
The Herero are a bigger tribe found all around the north of Namibia. Some of the women still wear brightly coloured Victorian style dresses, long tight sleeves, high neckline, very long and full skirt, and a weird hat that looks like it has a stick in the front. Will try to take a pic tomorrow... this is a legacy from the early German settlers, who have themselves dress up completely modern now :)
The Himba is a small tribe, around 50,000 people total. We went to see a village today with guide Queen Elizabeth (professional name), which was a bit of a weird experience.
Himba girl and baby

Himba girl and baby

You get used to the exposed boobs quickly enough, and after some questions about the different head gear and jewellery it's just like visiting any other poverty-stricken village. Maybe the difference is that the Himba don't seem to feel like they are poor - if a man has 6 wives with 10-15 children each and a lot of cattle then he's surely not poor in my opinion as well. Their wood huts are covered with a mixture of cow dung and sand that seems to create good insulation but has no windows to let the smoke out, once the fire is lit to warm the cold nights.
Nohngome (means Cow) next to her assortment of pumpkin pots

Nohngome (means Cow) next to her assortment of pumpkin pots

They also never wash, only re-apply a mixture of ground red ochre and butter 2-3 times a day over their entire bodies.
Nohngome grinding ochre. After it's ground she puts it in a cup with some butter, mix it all up and rubs it on herself and children.

Nohngome grinding ochre. After it's ground she puts it in a cup with some butter, mix it all up and rubs it on herself and children.

All the men were away at a funeral (or so we were told) so we only met the women and young children. The Chief's wife is 87, the chief said he was 10 and a 1000, and burst into a massive laugh. The hair styles and jewellery represent age and family situation: boys have one braid at the top pf their head, going back; girls have two braids at the top going to the front. When they're elven they have their front 4 teeth removed (apparently to look more like a cow) and the girls start to have their hair done in thin braids with mud on each, looking a bit like dreadlocks, and tied up. When they are 15 (marriageable age) the dreads go down and a lamb-skin headdress goes on top. All very complex...
Himba2.jpg

Really interesting day and worth it's own entry, we'll update you on how we got here very soon!

Posted by TattoodDuck 18:57 Archived in Namibia Tagged namibia himba Comments (1)

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