Most of the traveling in the country is done by small four- to six-seater planes that fly from Windhoek to all the various camps that exist throughout. My first stop was up north near the Angolan border and the airstrip was a road of rocks delineating the strip in the middle of nowhere, a small building with a unisex toilet and probably some desert lizard that runs around the desert, for this was all there was. For a minimalist, this is a haven.
On my first day we went out to see the Himba tribes, hiking on sand dunes that are beyond ones sense of the scale of what a sand dune should be. (They’re actually mountains made out of sand.) Everyone at the camp was very accommodating and I got to interact with people from all over – Australia, Canada, France, Italy…a group of maybe nine or ten people. Iva and I had our own Land Rover and guide, which made it a much more serene way of traveling. At the Himba tribe the ladies are quite spectacular – all covered in mud. They rub their bodies and hair with a mud mixture every day – part to offer protection from the poisonous Namibian sun and as a beauty detail. From what I was told they never wash their hair – it’s all mud and animal fat.
Life here is very simple. You milk the goat, you walk the trail, you try to catch a tourist once in a while and you mud yourself. These people very rarely travel outside their realm of nomad grazing areas and once in a while see the tourists that stay at the camp.
An excursion on a quad bike ended for me with a fractured arm, black and blue face (no make-up either!) and two days in hospital. But don’t think that this colored my opinion about Namibia. I found it to be an experience never to be forgotten. Areas like the Skeleton Coast where you see whale bones and seal sculls and a humungous dead tortoise, shipwrecks from the early ‘20’s, turned out to be a wonderful day at the beach – photographing and walking miles without seeing anything man-made.
eld due to the color of the sand. Another highlight was The Skeleton Coast – to spend a whole day and never see anybody else, walk through these fields of whale skeletons that have been there for over 100 years…the desolation you experience in this country is one that makes you become very introspective and makes you wonder about the lives that we live here in New York with so much stimulus…it took me two days to sort of chill in this vastness of emptiness.
Is it one of my favorite places I’ve been to? No. One of the most colorful? Definitely.