Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Namibia, A Bleak Kind of Beauty

This is an excerpt from the New York Times Travel Section on Namibia, a country AdventureMan and I visited a few years ago.

We landed in Windhoek, and our first night, we ate dinner at Joe’s Beerhouse, a little disorienting, as we had flown in from Germany, and found ourselves in a very German restaurant. The Germans colonized Namibia for a very few years over 100 years ago, but their influence lingers on in names, on streets, statues and cuisine.

Our trip through Namibia was unforgettable. It was unlike any other African country we have ever visited. It has a very long coastline with cold Atlantic currents called The Skeleton Coast. It has the world’s highest sand dunes, unbelievably beautiful. When I think of Namibia, I think of dryness – it is the thirstiest country I have ever seen, outside Kuwait.

Much of our time in Namibia, in Etosha and in Demaraland, we were camping, with CCAfrica (Conservation Corps Africa), but at the end, we stayed in one of the most spectacular private lodges in the world: Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge. It was a total WOW. We rode ATV’s to the top of the dunes for sunset. They had an astronomical observatory, because at night there is NO ambient light and you can see the sky so clearly. The food was fabulous and creative.

Namibia, a country of stark beauty and riveting contradictions, should be at the top of any serious traveler’s want-to-visit list.

The landscape is otherworldly, from the ocean of blood red crests along Dune Alley at Sossusvlei (pronounced SOSS-oo-vlay) to the gravity-defying rock formations and petrified forest of Damaraland, in the country’s center. Even beside the main highway, there are enough elephants, giraffes and springbok to satisfy those who can’t imagine a southern African trip without big game.

And the mind-boggling juxtaposition of women draped in skins that covered animals a week earlier against shopping malls offering a full selection of Ray-Bans, or of face powder ground in a mortar and pestle cheek by jowl with shiny Hummers, leads you into the heart of a modern Africa tangled by time, defined by the collision of centuries and traditions.

Namibia isn’t easy, especially for travelers whose notion of a vacation is dashing from one sight to another, or for urbanites who need regular fixes of bright lights and noisy streets. Except for those with pockets deep enough to arrange chartered flights between the dunes and the Damara homesteads, it demands patience with corrugated gravel roads and mile after mile of what poets are fond of calling terrible beauty.

You can read the entire article HERE.

August 27, 2008 - Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Travel |

3 Comments »

  1. That pic is amazing. looks like something from national geo mag!

    Comment by Mrm | August 28, 2008 | Reply

  2. Oh yikes, Mrm, it is not my photo. I wasn’t in digital yet when we went to Namibia!

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 29, 2008 | Reply

  3. […] his way to Wakra and to the SeaLine Resort, and I wanted to see the big dunes, not as big as in Namibia but pretty impressive, with their sinuous […]

    Pingback by Sealine Resort, Doha, Qatar « Here There and Everywhere | July 4, 2009 | Reply


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