Somewhere between the Kalahari and the South Atlantic, you’ll find a wonderful country rich in vast landscapes, beautiful mountains, colonial cities and a wide abundance of wildlife. Namibia as it known these days, can very much be labelled as one of the youngest countries in Africa.
We began our trip by arriving in Windhoek, a well maintained busy city rich in a variety of cultures.
The weather was in our favour with a scorching 34 degrees. Surprisingly though, Windhoek is situated in the semi-arid climate region of Namibia where the days were warm to hot and the evenings were slightly cooler. We were just glad we did not experience any of the hottest summer days as the “warm’’ days were scorching.
There is a wide array of shops to meet every shopper’s needs, many familiar names such as those you would find in South Africa. Walking down the streets of the city centre, one notices many tourists capturing the sheer beauty of the city.
We visited Joe’s Beer house for supper after being told by many locals that one cannot visit Windhoek without visiting Joe’s. Flaunting a forest type garden theme, there are many funny quirky traits to Joes… such as sitting on a toilet seat as a chair or the interesting décor hanging from the ceiling or mounted on the wall.
If you love game meat such as Zebra, Kudu, Impala and/or Springbok, this is the best place to be. We ordered the Impala and Springbok and were highly impressed. Our food was great! Tasty and well portioned. Game meat has always been a culinary treat in our family so to be able to taste different types of buck was great!
We headed down to Eros airport for our flight to Oshakati, which is the the capital town of the North. The hub of the trans-border trade with Angola. The regions chief city is surrounded by Oshonas (inland water channels), greenery, vast farmlands and settlements. We learned that some of the local inhabitants still maintained their heritage and practiced the traditional Ovambo lifestyle. Oshakati is rich is culture as one could visit Oshonas which are the area’s local African settlements or Ovambo " kraals".
Initially upon entering the town, one notices the colonial influence with many of the old bomb shelters still visible on residential properties. Along the streets, are many street vendors selling their wares especially what seemed to be smoked or roasted meats. We were quite horrified upon noticing one of the vendors advertising dog meat for sale. After speaking to the locals, we were told that many people of this Northern town, find dog meat irresistible with a likening to being a cross between chicken and turkey. We honestly found it disturbing but with all due respect, each country we visit one learns about the cultural differences. What seems ‘normal’ for one is abnormal for another and so forth…
As Oshakati is quite close to one of the largest waterfalls in Africa, we could not resist venturing down to the magnificent Ruacana Falls. What an absolutely stunning sight!
On route we stopped over at Lake Otjikoto, which is a large circular sinkhole with vertical dolomite cliffs. The lake forms part of the natural and cultural heritage of Namibia and a deemed a national monument. Needless to say, it was a majestic view and a great place to visit.
Another captivating place we visited, was Etosha National Park. Estimated at 22 750km² of wildlife, this sanctuary was an absolutely wonderful experience. We spent around 8 hours driving to and from the waterholes and taking in the shere beauty of this wonderful park. We were fortunate to see many species as the weather was on our side as well. Apart from the usual game of zebra, giraffe, kudo, springbok and impala etc, we witnessed a proud group of lions prowling for its feed and then later feasting! Quite an intimidating experience to have a lion who has just killed for its feed, circle your vehicle but nevertheless, its these priceless experiences that we love. We definitely recommend a visit to Etosha if you are visiting Namibia as its vast, desolate beauty is truly remarkable. One of our highlights was the stunning sunset at Etosha.
|Etosha Pans from a bird's eye view|
After flying back to Windhoek, we ventured towards Grootfontein. 7.5 hours on the long dusty arid roads of Namibia - in awe of the beauty this desert country has to offer, we checked in at the local bed and breakfast just a few kilometers out of the main city center of Grootfontein.
Welcomed by a friendly full grown tame lion (yes a lion), who roams the property. We quickly realized that Mufasa suffered a bit of identity crisis as he seems to believe he is the loyal watch dog of the estate. Without being aware of this at first, our heartbeats immediately increased as this beautiful animal, stealthily approached us :) Later that day, we were told that he is in fact the estate’s totally harmless pet… We were well looked after by the Herero chef at the bnb. The Herero people were originally a tribe of cattle herders living in a region of German South-West Africa which is presently known as modern Namibia. Overall, our stay at the bnb was fantastic, the staff were friendly and absolutely lovely people.
Upon exploring Grootfontein, you immediately notice the cosy quaintness however it hosts the largest known meteorite on earth, called the Hoba Meteorite. Estimated at over 60 tons of iron nickel, the meteorite is said to be over 80 million years old. Indeed a wonderful experience!
Amongst the local people, it is said to have healing powers so many visitors tend to scrape off some of the grains of the meteor. Once arriving at the meteor, our wonderful friends elaborated on the story of this large cuboid shape which is about 3 by 3 meters around and about 1 meter high. It was first discovered in 1920 by Jacobus Hermanus Brits, the owner of the farm when his plow struck it. Since then it has become one of the biggest tourist attractions in Grootfontein.
Namibia is truly a beautiful country with friendly people. A photographers dream and definitely a country we would return to, to explore further.