Namibia Safari Part II

Trip Start Sep 30, 2006
Trip End Jan 16, 2010

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Friday, December 15, 2006

After visiting the fantastic wildlife at Etosha, it was time to see some of Namibia's countryside and deserts. We leave the hot, dry, white Etosha pan for hotter, dryer, red sandy earth heading towards Damaraland. On the way, we stop in the small town of Kamanjab, on our way to see the Himba Tribesmen. In addition to beer, another nice thing about German influence is the lovely bakeries in the smallest of towns. We visit a tribal area called Oase Village where the tribespeople migrated from the far north Kaokoland region of Namibia, close to the Angolan border, living their traditional way in their village on a farm. We visit the teenage girls in their huts who show us the 3 hour long ritual of cleansing themselves with smoke and putting a mixture of clay from the red earth all over their bodies to protect them from the sun. Ahhh! A grand idea. She also shows us how to use goats skin to adorn her hair, which means she is married. I take photos but feel bad for these people who have moved so far from their own lands to this small area where tourists visit them and hopefully buy their copper jewelry. The men are all tending to the fields and cattle while we visit, leaving just the women in the village. We continue on our way across the vast, seemingly empty countryside. During the summer, this area west toward the rough Atlantic is flush with wildflowers. However, in the hot season of December, it feels like what I would imagine Mars must be. Hot, red earth with blue clear skies, dusty rose colored rocks and hills with low vegetation, and an occasional tree. The only life we see are lizards and rock dassies, the cute rodents who live in between the shade of rocks. This is an area of ancient tribal cave writings and drawings. It is so hot my eyes can barely stay open, never mind focus on rock art. I long for a pool of water to jump into, and I begin to understand why Arabs cover themselves in white from head to toe. Not having any red clay, I put my sarong on under my baseball cap to cover my head, face, neck and arms from the blistering African sun. All I can see for miles is red parched earth. No AC in our safari truck means we munch on potato chips to replace the salt that has disappeared from our bodies. This my friends, is heat so hot you can't even sweat. It just evaporates!! This is Africa.
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