Tag Archives: Namibia

Namib Desert and Sea, keep your heart warm

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Welcome back! I missed our blog while I enjoyws the summer and vacation. Any new sites I visited? Actually only one, Edinburgh. We went to Scotland with Edinburgh, Glasgow an Islay. More about that trip later, now let’s look at Namibian desert and sea. It’s a new UNESCO world heritage site and one of my favourite on the list.

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Desert has its creatures, this is desert zebra

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Where the desert meets the sea

I visited Namibia together with a friend during three weeks in December 2010 and January 2011. I’ve written about it in three -part story in following posts: part one, part two, part three. This part is only about Namibia, its desert, its sands, its sea, its wonderful nature and its great people. Namibia welcomed us with warmth and calmness and during the entire time in Namibia I felt calm and happy.

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Sand, sand, sand, where doeas desert end and the beach begins?

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Definetly the beach, or desert

We saw and visited different kinds of deserts here. Grey sand, yellow sand, red sand, white sand. We saw sand dunes and rock desert. In Swapkomund, on Africa’s East coast we saw the sea and its creatures. We saw few flamingos, other water birds, playful seals, we ate shrimps and sea food and we interacted with local people, among them women traditionally dressed in cow-hats.

Going to Swapkomund was interesting. We travelled through the desert for hours. suddenly the desert became a beach, just by the sea. Where is the border? What is the desert? What is beach?

We also saw Himba people, that live closed to the nature, keeping their old traditions and customs. We actually visited a Himba-camp and were welcomed there by the people living there. We were shown their way of living and their customs. Some guys in our group found this quite disturbing and uncomfortable, like going to a zoo with people, but I see it as a wat to connect and actually understand that the other people might be different, but are also people, like everybody else. Understanding and connecting.

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Desert is not as deserted, as you think

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Fish River Canyon, no sea, only desert

On the New Years Eve we visited Fish River Canyon, worlds second largest canyon after Grand Canyon. The desert here was more stony, but still very dry and very, very beautiful. T first there was cloudy and rain in the air, we almost gave up the thought of a sunset, but then the clouds just split and we got to view the most magical sunset over the canyon.

Some of the places we visited actually had some rain, like Fish River Canyon. Others haven’t had any rain since lat year in February and others for the last five years. But even if there was no rain the desert was very much alive. There were insects, spiders, lizzards and snakes. We went out with a guide and watched different signs of desert creatures.

The desert was also filled with all the different plants. There were trees with just few small leaves on top, there were bushes that were poisonous and other bushes that moved with the wind. We saw dry plants that opened up and spread their seeds when they were hit buy a drop of water and then went to sleep until the next rain. Desert is very much alive.

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Dune 45

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More dunes

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Dune 45 again

We also visited the red sand dunes and climbed up on Dune 45. They are numbered in order and they actually move in the wind. They change shape and position a little sometimes. Climbing the dunes is not easy. For every step up you glide two steps down. It’s easier without the shoes. Finally we made it and saw a magical sunrise.

By the dunes we saw huge crows. They were black with white collars and were waiting for food from tourists probably.

In the desert there are also some mammals. There are desert elephants that live here. We haven’t seen any, but we saw few desert zebras. They are a little bit different that the usual zebras. I’m not sure if I could see the difference, but our guides could.

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Desert, no rain here

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Evening in the desert

We visited a part of Namibia called ;oon landscape. It was a stony desert, a bare landscape, that is pretty big, pretty amazing and very pretty. It’s like being on a different planet.

All the different parts of Namibia were like different planets, many different planets.

We met another people group in the desert, Bushmen. They communicate with click-sounds and live in small huts out in the desert. They live of what the desert gives.

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Beautiful desert

We saw sand, mountains, rock, beach and sea. The desert showed us that it’s alive, just as the sea is very much alive. I’m impressed with Namibian desert it gave me warmth, live and happiness. The fesert is alive.

Link: Namib Sand Sea

My grade is five, five, five.

GlobeGlobeGlobeGlobeGlobe

//Monika

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From Cape Town to Vic Falls in the African heat (part 2 of 3)

Zebra

After a week on the road with sleeping in tents and eating by a camp fire we were dirty and tired and then came the luxury: a hostel with normal beds in a town by the Atlantic Ocean, called Swapkomund.That’s not enough, we also went out and ate in a real restaurant, that served all kinds of wonderfull food from pizza to wild meat, like springbook or oryx.

On the way to Swapkomund we  passed the tropic of Capricorn and saw a desrt-part that looked like a moon landscape. It was very different from the other parts of the desert. A whole new planet.

Tropic of capricorne

Our guides at Tropic of Capricorne

Moonlandscape

Moon landscape

jump of joy

Monika jumping of joy in moon landscape

We continued throgh the desert and suddenly the desert became a beach and we reached the ocean and the town of Swapkomund. The border between desert and beach was a road.

Desert or beach

Desert becomes town called Swapkomund

In Swapkomund or Walvis bay nearby we  were supposed to see flamingos, but they didn’t want to show up, so we just saw the town and continued into the desert.  We saw women in traditional cow-hats. Interesting and beautiful. We also had luch by the ocean in the most perfect seafood restaurat. We also visited a local museum that told history of the town and a local market with nice crafts.

kid on the beach

On the beach in Swapkomund

Fishing

Fishing in Swapkomund

In one of the places, near mountain called Spitzkoppe,  we saw ancient cave paitings wih lions, giraffes, bufallo, men and women and a whale (?). There are other, even more magnificent areas with cave painting, that are on the world heritage list in Namibia, but not the ones we saw. That’s a perfect reason to return to Namibia. In that place, near Spitzkoppe, we got surprised by heavy rain and thunder, that poured down and was gone in few minutes, but left us soaking wet. African rain.

train

Train in the desert

Spitzkoppe

Spitzkoppe

Dark clouds

Dark clouds at Spitzkoppe

Nice hills

Beautiful hills

The sunset by Spitzkoppe was enchanting. After the sunset, in the dark we had a visit from some locals who showed us their dances and invited us to join. It was fin, even if some of us came a bit outside our comfort zones. We joined in womens dance and mens dance and danced till the night got really dark and we were really tired. This was the first night of two when we slept by the camp fire with no tents, just the dark heaven and the stars above us. It was beautiful, exciting and just a little scary. We saw scorpions during the day, they are most likely creeping around during the night as well.

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Evening by Spitzkoppe

Sunset

Sunset by Spitzkoppe

In the desert we saw more amazing things and met amazing people. We travelled by nice villages and stopped by a local market. There were some people dressed just like westerners, some traditionally, like women in cow-hats, some dressed as their navite ancient forefathers did. It was the Himba, who we would meet later that day. Everything seemed perfectly normal and nobody was surprised. Just imagine showing up in your city on the main streey dressed traditionally. Unless it’s national Day people would probably stare.

warning for elephants

Warning for elephants

woman in cow-hat

Woman in traditional cow-hat

We continued through the deserts and we met the local Himba people and learned about their customs. It was strange feeling visiting them, a little bit uneasy, like going to a zoo. Or maybe we were the zoo that invaded their world?

Himba people

Himba People

Himba boy

Himba boy

Himba boy

Another himba boy


Himba woman with a kid

Himba woman with a kid

Himba woman

Himba woman

That night we saw anothe wonderfull sunset and slept under the naked sky watching milions of stars and thinking about how small we are and how large bugs with more than two legs are waiting to attack us. We saw also the most beautiful sunsets in Africa and in this place one of them.

Beautiful African sunset

Beautiful African sunset

After that we  continued to Etosha National Park for game spotting. We saw lions, elephants, zebras, giraffes, springbook, hippos, oryx and many more animals and birds. We also saw the great Etosha Pan and yet another sunset.

Giraffes

Giragges in Etosha

Gnu

Blue Wilderbeast, gnu, in Etosha

zebra

Zebra in Etosha

Oryx in Etosha

Oryx in Etosha

Etosha Pan

The Great Etosha Pan

Lion in Etosha

Roaming lion in Etosha

Etosha sunet

Etosha sunset

After Etosha we continued to Windhoek, the capitol of Namibia and after that to Botswana and the wonderful Okavango Delta. And finally to the great Victoria Falls. All that will be in the next post.

To be continued…

//Monika

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From Cape Town to Vic Falls in the African heat (part 1 of 3)

My trip to see the Vic Falls in Zimbabwe was the most amazing trip I’ve ever done so far. Not only because of the Vic Falls, but the waterfall was a big part of it. Victoria Falls was added to the world heritage list in 1989. The waterfall is almost 2 km long and the fall is 109 meters high on the highest place. And it is magnificent. It’s difficult to imagine the amount of water falling down from the Zambezi river. You just have to see it.

But let’s start from the beginning. It was December of 2010 and Europe was covered in massive amounts of snow. Around Christmas there was so much snow that many of the major airports were closed. Families were split apart, waiting for their loved ones to come for Christmas. Other went away for Christmas and could not return home. When the airports opened again on December 26:th and 27:th there were delays, many people waiting for a new flight and cgaos. The snow kept on pouring down and the snow machines kept on putting it away, creating even more delays. One of the worst aiport with most problem was Charles de Gaule in Paris and we were supposed to change flights there. And had about one hour to change.

Snow in Sweden

The flight to Paris was more than one hour delayed and the only thing that saved us was the fact that 25 people were continuing to Joburg. An officer on the airport caugth all of us and we ran across the entire aiport to catch the other flight. That resulted in next delay, so we had to run in Joburg as well to the domestic flight to Cape Town. But we made it. And we still had five minutes to sit down and breathe, before the flight took off.

Sunshine in Cape Town

The rest of a trip was much less running. This was a three-week trip in Southern Africa starting in Cape Town in South Africa, going north to Namibia, Botswana and finally Zimbabwe and the Victoria Falls.

Nomad office in Cape Town

Nomad office in Cape Town

 

Our transport, the truck Sid.

We started in Cape Town with finding Nomad’s office, signing all the papers, meeting our guides, rest of the group and packing the truck full with our stuff. I say truck, bacause it was a truck, It had windows, that you could open, but no aircon, it had quite good seats with built-in massage (or was that bumpy roads?), storage for kitchen and the tents and all you could need including two spare tires (remember that one). Just perfect.

Our bush guide at first camp, Skoke.

The African sun and heat was overwelming. It is so much better than ice and snow and chilly winds. We drove north and first night was near Nanibian border. First night in tents was interesting. Later it showed that my friend and I picked the best test. Some of the other leaked, our did not. We cooked our meals together, ate together and travelled together. The group was OK, some people were nice, some got annoying after a while, but that first night everyone was OK.

Tree in the desert

 

Bush in the desert

 

Me, Monika in the desert

In Namibia we saw the desert, both stone and sand. The trees and bushes of the desert were special. The creatures were not visible, but we could feel their presence, the lizard, snakes and spiders, just waiting for the perfect catch.

We saw social weavers and a large nest with a spitting cobra trying to eat the eggs. We learned that the snake swallows the eggs, then he drops to the ground to crush them. Cool!

Social weaver nest

Social weavwer nest with snake

Then we continued to the Fish River Canyon, second largest Canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon.When we reached it the clouds were heavy and the expected sunset seemed to be only a dream, but suddenly clouds went away and we witnessed magical moments.

In the desert by Fish River Canyon.

Every day we felt it was the best ever and every day was better then the last one. We saw Fish River Canyon on the New Years Eve of 2010 and saw that years last sunset there. That was amazing! The Canyon is huge and when you face it, you realize how little people are and how magnificent the nature is.

Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon

 

Sunsetin Fish River Canyon

Sunset in Fish River Canyon

Few days later we climbed Dune 45, a red sand dune, in the sun rise. Once again the smllness of people and the greatness of nature got overwelming. We ate breakfast, watching a large crow, waiting for a catch.

Dune 45 in the dark

Dune 45 in the dark, an early morning

 

Jump of joy on Dune 45

Jump of joy on Dune 45

 

Dune 45

Dune 45

 

Crow

Crow at Dune 45

We went on into the desert. We passed dry rivers. The trees around thr river banks were green. That’s because of thr water few meyetrs deep under the earth.

Red bridge

Red bridge in the desert

In the sand desert we met a local guide who told us about the creatures and plats here and that they haven’t seen rain for five years. No rain and the desert is full of life.

Desert

The dry empty desert is very much alive

 

Monika in the desert

Monika in the desert

 

Evening in the desert.

Evening in the desert.

This story has just started. The part 2 will be here soon. Part 3 with our final destination and the world heritage site Victoria Falls as well.

To be continued…

//Monika

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