The vastness of the African bush and plains are rapidly disappearing. Engulfed in a tsunami of housing, over population and unemployment.
During our Road Trip Namibia Safari, we followed the road over barren hard gravel from the west coast into the Namib Desert. In the distance a thin line of dusty green followed the Kuiseb(?) River. Finally we arrived at Ouma Anna's place. Some of her children's children's children, guided us to there. The TOPNAARS. A small ethnic group who finds it hard to survive. Squashed between the sanddunes, the Namib Desert and the Atlantic Ocean, they are limited to the Kuiseb River. Which provides water - and food for the animals. Since grazing is limited to the banks of the Kuiseb River, the goat herds are also small. The women collect /xnaras. It is a prolific growing desert creeper. /Xnaras are bitter as hell. The seeds of the /xnara are removed and boiled. This is then sold to a local factory which produces oil and fat from it, to make cleaning products. This little income is enough to buy the neccessary household items. Apparently there is no shortage of the /xnara. Mostly men go to the nearby town of Walvis Bay to work. Kids go to the local primary school. Traditional dances don't exist anymore said the grandma's. But the younger generation eagerly told about the lekker Nama-stap they do when the occasion arises. Their spoken language is Nama and Afrikaans the communication tool. TSWANA and TOPNAARS have a lot in common with the NAMA and outstanding patchwork dress.
Next to a dusty dirt road, some HERERO women swayingly danced for attention. We stopped to visit with them. HERERO's are cattle farmers and live in the west and east of Namibia. They are particular that their children should be schooled. HERERO's always go well dressed. The traditional dress of the women has 8 undercoats. Sometimes these serves also as blankets for others. The new generation wear western dress. In the bussiness community of the country, HERERO representation is prominent.
A DAMARA is born with a plier in hand - the saying goes. DAMARA's traditionally live in the hard rocky places of the west. They are hard working people. Much of the fences in the country were done by DAMARA. Men mine the semi-precious stones NAMIBIA is known for with hand, hammer, pick and shovel. Women are excellent housekeepers. When shelter is needed, a hut, covered with cattle dung, is erected. When it rains (which does not happen often), the hut must be re-plastered.
In the northwest groups mingle. HIMBA villages spread over the hills. OVAHIMBA are also cattle and goat farmers. Traditionally dressed HIMBA women and men scatter difference between the western clad people of Namibia. Also the HIMBA has adapted. Nowadays they wear rubber armbands instead of the traditional copper. Women spent a lot of time to keep their look. If a HIMBA marries outside of the ethnic group, such a person is not welcomed back as a HIMBA. Such persons adapt the normal western dress. I have lived more than 50years in Namibia and have never observed a smiling HIMBA.
What a delight the BUSHMeN were. The smiling people. Truly people of the land. Their spontaneous interaction with nature are enticing and their survival knowledge amazing. Sadly their land are also pirated by landgrabers for own resettlement with cattle. Thereby destroying nature and with it the game. When I offered our guide to share our lunch, he asked for only water. Their water installation was broken for some time already and water had to be carried from far. This way he could tank up and save the water at home for his family.
WHITES are a small minority ethnic group divided in 3 cultural groups : German, Afrikaans and English. My kids are 4th generation Namibian. Whites are known for creating employment. A man must make a plan - is applicable to this group. Producing enough, for tomorrow also - is the motto.
OVAMBO'S in the north is by far the majority ethnic group. Because of this Namibia is effectively a one-party-state, democraticly elected. Ovambo's are employed and resettled in every noock and corner of Namibia. Half of all money earned are send 'home'. And half of the millionaires in Namibia are OVAMBO.
KAVANGO's in the north, are fairly populated. Finding a stretch along the road where there is no hut in sight, is very difficult. The north has a larger rainfall and therefore bush and big trees grow prolific. Kiaat wood is used extensively in furniture. However, deforestation is clearly visible. Kavango's are known for their pottery. Fishing with traps are commonly done along the OKAVANGO river and its contributories.
CAPRIVIANS are cattle farmers. And like the OVAMBO AND KAVANGO, plant fields of mahango. They have a fair amount of elephant visits to their crops. Men mostly go to work at other places in the country. CAPRIVIANS, OVAMBO's and KAVANGO's wear normal western dress.
In the clayhuts and tin shacks you'll commonly find regular, western furniture and conveniences. A tv-dish on the roof and a 4x4 by the door. Every settlement has a water point and electricity is commonly found everywhere. Definately reception for the cellphones. 95% of township-shops are shebeens (bars). Alchol and its related problems are a concern in Namibia. Tuberculoses occurs often. In the north malaria can spread havock. There is no underfed Namibian to be seen. On the contrary - overweight is applicable to probably 50%. Education is provided at all levels. (In the middle of no-where. A school. A township - with electricity and water.) Transport is on foot, with donkeycar, with taxi or mini bus. Or a city chaos with a web of cars. The capital, Windhoek, is a regular metropolitan city. As is every town. Loitering, drinking, stealing, and crime, are common activities.
I'm grateful to have lived in a time when the vastness of the African bush and plains, filled with game, have represented AFRICA. I'm sorry for the new generations who will never know the African wilderness. Because soon there will only be housing, people and problems.
I am from this place - Africa, Namibia, Etosha. 13 years ago, I drove with my in-laws around - showing off amazing Namibia. And did not see one single elephant in Etosha. Granted, it was in the 'wrong' time of year. The elephants had moved north to better grazing whilst there were rainwater in pools around. We even, got rained out of our tents and moved into a bungalow.
Elephants were part of my life. My parents farm was just east of Etosha. School holidays we would regularly have a day outing to Etosha. We had to get up and leave house still in the dark to be at the Etosha gate at sunrise. Knowing about the big picnic basket mom had prepared, getting up and out of our cozy beds, were not a problem for us kids. In those days, Etosha was only open to the public the months around winter. Etosha and excitement, have always been sinonime.
Elephants were also sometimes a big heartache for my dad and other farmers of the area. Because the elephant herd of Etosha had outgrown itself, some elephant would break the fence and walked off to better grazing - the surrounding farms. Where they flattened farming fences and broke water installations. The farms were all extensively farmed with cattle. In the wake of the elephant escape path, followed other predators like lion and wilddog. Hearing frightened cattle bellowing in the dark of night mingled with the roar of attacking lions, is hairraising and fearsome - And vividly engraved in my memory. The government was unable to relocate the animals and left the problem solving for the farmers. Waiting for the men to return from such a hunt, burnt many candles. During the last hunt on our farm, one of the men was seriously mauled(sp) by the male lion. And I, keep the memories with me.
Because of the prolific growth of the elephant herd, the government started the culling program. It was neccessary. The production of canned meat was effecient and "Eloolo with the elephant head on the sticker" was common on the shelves. There was no taste difference between Eloolo and any other beef canned meat.
Today, 13 years after my last visit to Etosha, we spent a few days there again during our 30 day RoadTripNAMIBIA safari. I was honoured to share it with my son. We saw elephants for Africa! and even more elephants.
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During our Road Trip Namibia Safari we had excellent sightings of elephants. But I remember a few more things about Etosha elephants.
We went on a 30 day camping safari with David of RoadTripNAMIBIA. I loved it. From this safari with RTN, a few videos resulted. Some might still be in-the-making.
BIRDING with RoadTripNAMIBIA https://youtu.be/Sm9RbJTjjw0 12 Aug'18 Dating with RoadTripNAMIBIA https://youtu.be/tYf8IVYcUDw 06 sep'18 HORROR in Etosha RTN guide&camp https://youtu.be/4niFPfH_xFE 03 Sept'18 One night in AFRICA https://youtu.be/qpFFOEaDF-Y 07 sept'18 ELEPHANTS for Africa https://youtu.be/UGuQktvd9AI 11 sept'18 PEOPLE of Namibia "Katja!" SAFARI with RoadTripNAMIBIA
Herewith a view of some of our campsites, transport & guide. Camping places were either in special permit required areas, or at lodges or on private campsites. Passing another duster, or through a sandstorm in the Namib Desert when we could not see the road, but our guide seemed to know where he should go. In the Namib a family of silver foxes visited our camp. A couple of times, our guide picked us a good spot in the wild where the end of day caught us. In Damaraland we slept at the foot of Brandberg, waiting for the desert elephants. Only lions and their tracks were around. Impressive waterfalls were the thundering background music during our stay with the Ovahimba people. Sometimes we had visitors and guarddogs. Our guide pointed out the rocks, the trees and plants, the birds and animals, the people, the-ever-so interesting life around us, and made sure we experienced something unique. We inspected many of it - also the coffee-time-tree. In the Caprivi we watched from our safe-shore-camp, a herd of 60 elephant going on a stampede. We pitched camp at the foot of one of the majestic baobabs standing around our campsite in Bushmanland. At the farmer in the freezing Kalahari, we checked out his quality cattle and the end-results. Transport was good. We were not always easy clients, but our guide was always polite, informative, helpful - which I can only appreciate. It was a great safari and I take with me wonderful memories which I wish to share with you. I can highly recommend David to give you a very special insight into amazing Namibia - at the comfort level of your choice.
Welcome to the bonus we experienced while on a cultural safari in Namibia with David of RoadTripNAMIBIA. Yes, the sometimes striking, or camouflaged, or cute, but-never-sitting-still, birds. We didn't go birding - but we couldn't other, but noticed. They crossed our paths unexpectedly and always spread excitement. They are there one moment and gone the next.
Maybe we did not see animals around every nook or corner, but we definately saw birds and birds and more birds. Granted - if one were not looking, one would not have noticed.
BIRDING with RoadTripNAMIBIA https://youtu.be/Sm9RbJTjjw0
Share with me some golden memories of the birds which brought a smile to my face during our safari in Namibia. David, our guide, was a superb birder. You are welcome to send David the info if you can identify some of the no-names in the video. email@example.com
RoadtripNamibia shares with you in Dutch what to expect during your safari to Africa with them.
I loved it !
Heeft u ook admiratie voor de ontdekkingsreizigers van de VOC tijd?
En was u ook al beundruk met plaatjes en vertellingen van ander reizigers van ons tijd - hetzij op tv of in u vrienden- en familiekring?
Dan ben Roadtripnamibia voor uw.
Wij kan u ook nemen naar de Unesco wereld erfgoed Zand Zee van de Namib, Maar wij gaat verzeker samen zoeken naar tok-tokkies, of nachtaapjes. Wij gaat op jacht, met de ogen, om de Hemmingway gevoel te krijgen van Afrika net als ouds, en bekijken het kleine en grote, en ook gevechten om leven en dood.
Wij brengen de feiten achter de verhalen, wat ook voor u meer begrip en diepte zal geven over het leven in Afrika - hetzij eng, of geweldig.
Roadtripnamibia gaat off-the-beaten-track waar de gemakkelijke reizigers nooit zullen komen. We delen met u ons levens en belevenissen, in ons Afrika.
Roadtripnamibia maak gebruik van Namibia Tourist Board geaccrediteerde operateurs en gidsen. Die zijn allemaal goed geregeld en gecontroleerd door de toerisme bedrijf van Namibia - dus u garantie. En roadtripnamibia wil u een onvergetelijke ondervinding geven. Een ervaring die u zal wil herleven en delen tot de dag van u dood.
Neem direct met ons contact op en start plannen voor u safari van 'n leeftijd.
Gaat u reeds naar zuidelijke Afrika? 3 dagen (of natuurlijk ook meer), aanlas bij u bestaande programma is ook doenbaar. Natuurlijk kan u dan niet alles zien of beleven, doe wij toch volgende keer, niet?, maar Roadtripnamibia kan wel u een onvergetelijke Afrika-natuur-ondervinding, geven.
Ben u niet die sportieve soort maar wil graag iets fantastisch mee maak? Roadtripnamibia pas aan bij u, die klant.
Ben u wel opzoek naar de avontuurlijke en ongewone? Dan contact direct opnemen. Alles een woord: roadtripnamibia @ gmail.com
Wilt u self-drive? Roadtripnamibia voorzien graag u van advies en inlichting en doe u reserveringen.
Verhoed omstandigheden u om op Afrika safari te gaan? Kom beleef dan op u tijd en gemak een klein deeltj ervan op onze website : roadtripnamibia . blogspot. com