While touring Namibia I heard a little voice in my head saying “I hate Overlanders” or “tourists just come for landscapes and animals, not for the people” – you know who put that voice into my head, right?! 😉
So far though I have been really enjoying touring Namibia and visiting this amazingly beautiful country and I would not have missed it for the world. After Swakop we went to the Erogno Mountain area and Spitzkoppe to check out the rock formations as well as some bushman paintings. The scenery there was stunning and although there were no bathroom facilities whatsoever it was the best campsite so far!
After Spitzkoppe we headed towards Etosha National Park but on the way we stopped at a traditional Himba village. The Himba are indigenous people with an estimated population of about 50,000 people living in northern Namibia and probably the most well known tribe of Namibia since the women have quite a unique hairstyle.
I had mixed feelings about visiting the Himba because I felt it could easily turn into a visit to a zoo or living museum. At first it really was an uncomfortable situation but after finishing the tour around the village we were allowed to wonder off. After I finished taking photos of a kid, a Himba lady who was sitting in front of a more distant hut waved me over. She didn’t speak any English, but I knew what she was getting at: my belt. I lifted my shirt a little for her to see it and she quickly pulled me down to sit next to her.
She got a bag of bracelets and put them on my wrist. After she decorated my arm with six bracelets I signaled that it was enough, took my belt of and handed it to her. She was sooo happy and kissed my hand. We went over to the next hut to show off the belt and to get it inspected before she put it on. She looked so proud and satisfied. I guess I am an official trader now although with my tourist permit I was not supposed to engage in any “business” during my stay here. I really enjoyed this authentic and true encounter in a rather staged environment. So after all I was able to make it about the people, too. 😉
The following day we went to Etosha National Park. The name Etosha translates to “Great White Place” referring to the Etosha pan. It is situated in the Northwest of Namibia and it stretches over an area of 22.270 sq km with the pan covering about one quarter of the area. So that would give us enough area to cover for our game drives. We have seen pretty cool animals and I really enjoyed the scenery since it was a lot different to the national parks I had been to before. Unfortunately still no leopard though, so fingers crossed for the other opportunities still to come. We camped right inside the park which was brilliant, too, as we were able to hang out by the waterholes which are located right next to the campsites. We were able to observe many animals coming down to the waterholes for a drink at night and I had never experienced that before either. Apparently I missed the rhino sex though.
Tomorrow we are off to Botswana which I am really excited for. We’ll be visiting the Okavango Delta which I am very much looking forward to because I get to see where the Kavango River which passes Mayana actually ends.