Easter In Namibia
on Susan Somers (Namibia), 18/May/2010 12:22, 34 days ago
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My sister Angela and her husband Mike arrived in Namibia just before the Easter break, and I took some extra time off to spend time with them. They claim I was more excited by the contents of their luggage than I was with seeing them (which wasn’t true although they brought me Irish Chocolate, movie magazines, a mini hard-drive full of films/TV shows and some new clothes - well old clothes I hadn’t seen in a while!) It was great to see family but kind of strange to have people from my pre-Namibia life here!We hired a truck (called a double cab bakkie here) with 2 tents on the roof, loaded it up and headed off for a road trip around the country. After a night in Okahandja (and the grand tour of my‘little’ house), we went north to Etosha. We stopped off at the Cheetah sanctuary along the way before arriving in Okakojou, where we met up with Katy and Kev (2 other volunteers) and their foreign visitors. We had two days in the park and saw lots of giraffes, antelopes types, hyenas and, justas we were about to leave, a huge bull elephant. It perhaps wasn’t the best time of year to be in the park for animal viewing (the water holes at the camp sites were deserted) but we enjoyed a visit to the muddy salt pan and driving through the wide open spaces.Next we headed further north to Oshakati to stay with Mignon (yet another volunteer) before venturing further north to the Angolan border. The roads along the Kunene river (which divides Namibia from Angola) from Ruacanna to Ruacanna Falls and on to Epupa were pretty rough and it took all day to cover a relatively short distance(but Mike, being a typical boy, loved the challenge of the tough 4x4 driving)While in Epupa we visited a traditional Himba village, which wasn’t as uncomfortable as I’d expected. The Himba women and children (the men were all ‘away’) in the village either didn’t put any pass on us or seemed genuinely curious about us. We paid a guide to introduce us (i.e. show us around/translate for us) and brought gifts of food (maize meal, cooking oil, flour, salt, sugar etc) to the village so I guess everyone benefits. I’ve heard of people who had negative experience on ‘traditional village tours’ but we found it quite interesting. The chief’s first wife was very shocked to learn that although I was the older sister I wasn’tmarried. When I asked her if she would recommend Namibian men she laughed and said that she wouldn’t!After Epupa we headed south to Opuwo but after sudden heavy rains some the rivers we had to cross were quite high and we had to wait for about an hour for on to go down before we could continue. We travelled on to Twyfelfontain for rock carvings and more spectacular scenery and on to Uis for views of the Branberg mountain. We had a braai almost everynight, which meant careful planning and calculations to buy food (especially in Opuwo, where the supermarket seemed to be out of alot of basics) and get ice and wood, but spending each evening sitting out under the stars with a beer (or wine) in hand was wonderful.The end of the first week brought us to Swakopmund for 3 nights. There was a sudden change in the temperature (we went from sweating in 35® in the morning to putting on sweatshirts and socks by lunchtime!) After some quadbiking, dune climbing and a visit to Walvis Bay we headed south again to Sesriem. We climbed Dune 45 for sunset and visited Sossusvlei and Dead vlei the next morning (my third time) to take another million photos.We then headed back to Windhoek to meet up with some other volunteers and a meal out (in an actual restaurant!) and then back to Okahandja for a rest before it was time for Ange and Mike to head home (narrowly avoiding the ash cloud chaos)It was, of course, very hard to return to work after such a long holiday and going back to being a volunteer and not having any Irish people around (I’ll have to slow down again!)