Tag Archives: Sand

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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Valletta – a little pearl on the yellow island of Malta

Valletta

Few years ago, in June of 2004, I booked a diving trip to Malta. It was April, I wanted to travel and dive and see a place I haven’t seen before. So I chose Malta, the red island. Or maybe yellow. With sandstone everywhere it’s carved like a Swiss cheese. Mostly under the surface, but still.

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Beautiful blue lagoon

We arrived in the morning and after a quick ride with the shuttle bus we were at the hotel in town called Sliema. The hotel was nice, but looked like a touristic trap. There were many strange people who seemed to have left their brain at home asking in the elevator at the bottom floor Going up? Ignoring other tourists was easy with beautiful view, colourfull boats and sunshine.

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A colourfull boat in Malta

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A very colourfull old bus on Malta

Diving was nice. We saw quite a few small and larger fish, but the number of other things was not so great. One time, our dive guide tried to point out something. He was excited, very excited. After a while we understood that he saw a sea star. We’ve seen hundreds of them on the west coast of Sweden. Besides the sea star we saw some caves and cool formation, beautiful lagoons and sunshine. IN one of the lagoons, on the land we saw something that looked like old ruins. There was mosaic laying around. Wonder what it was?

Mysterious mosaic found on the island

There were not so many animals on the island. Not large anyways, some stray cats and lizzards. And of course birds and fish and the rabbits that became a national dish and we never saw.

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A stray cat, one of many

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A small lizzard on Malta

We travelled qite a lot on the island and even took a trip to Gozo. It was even more beautiful with its lazure blue lagoon and wonderful waters. I had a small accident on Gozo. I went swimming with my little camera in underwater housing. Suddenly I saw that the housing was filled with water. It wasn’t closed properöy. The camera haven’t been the same since then.

Church on Gozo

A beautiful church on Gozo

On wonderful Malta we tried to eat what they said to be their national dish: rabbit in garlic. It was a good thing to create a national dish in order to solve a problem with those rodents.

Monika

We traveled a lot by bus. They were old busses from the 50-ies. Very pretty and cool. Malta is not a big island, so we saw a lot of it.

A wall in Valletta. Was it once a defence wall?

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A beautiful building in Valletta

And one day, finally, we visited Valletta. It’s capital of Malta and, I think, the largest city. It has very special history. It belonged ro many different countries over the years and it has influences from different cultures. Since it is located between Europe, Africa and the Orient it has influences from Europe (and especially Great Brittain), Africa and the Orient. We were in harbor and walked around the ols town. There were many small shops and cute little streets. Valletta is an old military city and it has kept its old character. It feels like the time had stopped. If you look at the old cars and bysses it could be the 1950-ies, if you look at the buikldings it could be 18:th century. It’s not easy to know and the feeling is quite special.

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More yellow buildings in Valletta, probably with some military history.

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A church in town. Gueass the colour, yes, yellow

But was Valletta so special? I liked it, but I like many places and don’t feel I need to go back. It was nice to visit Valletta, it was easy to get there and to move around. I liked the rest of Malta and Gozo even more.

Valletta became a world heritage site in 1980. Link to the site: Valletta.

And my grade for this site is three out of five: (Malta as whole would probably get four and Gozo maybe even five):

GlobeGlobeGlobe

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