Namibian Nomad, October 2010

Well it was high time that I surfaced again from the whirlpool that is life and work and this email finds me drifting in another adventurous eddy in south-western Africa.  I have been travelling for a week already in Namibia with plans to travel overland across Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  I’m currently in Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast – a quaint German town on the edge of the great Namib Desert.  Giant shifting sand dunes collide directly with the coastline here and thick fog rolls in from the icy waters that are home to Cape fur seal colonies and flamingos.  Scenes I would never have pictured in Africa – not the least though is the sight of German chalets and beerhouses in manicured streets awash with sand from the towering dunes behind and fringed by palm trees!  Yesterday I took a scenic flight over the desert, deserted diamond mines and ship wrecks along the rugged coast, skimming the heads of lone antelope and ostriches among the sand dunes and perplexed fur seals among the crashing waves.  Today I took a close-up trip into the dunes and had a long awaited encounter with a chameleon.

I started out from a base in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia and headed north for a few days on a safari to the lush Etosha National Park.  From the comfort of a luxury tented lodge (with resident zebra grazing by the pool) I explored the park on game drives.  I don’t think I will ever tire of ogling at the African menagerie (but then ask me again in a month’s time!).  Although some of the sightings were on the savannah and intervening bushland, many were at the scattered water holes.  Large herds of wildebeest, zebra and springbok grazing, giraffes – a tangle of spindly legs and necks attempting to lower themselves to the water, lions gloating over carcasses from last night’s kill, elephants lazily flapping their ears at African flies, and perhaps the highlight so far – a couple of sightings of the black rhino.  The wildlife experience doesn’t stop when you step out of the safari vehicle though, and you’re just as likely to meet the animals on your dinner plate later on – carnivores are well catered for here and I’ve already munched my way through crocodile, ostrich, zebra and several different types of antelope – all washed down with generous portions of Windhoek lager.  “Pity the colonials” as they say – think of me doing it tough here in Africa as you ponder my predicament from the comfort of your home!

Well next week I’m heading to Botswana on the weekly bus – maybe it come, maybe it won’t but hopefully..  talk to you then.

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