namibia part II

I'm back again with some more of my travel photos from Namibia. Looking through my black and white photos I found a few I'd taken at the Bush Camp but hadn't shared with you. If you look really closely, some of the little beasts in the photos are wearing striped pajamas, the elusive mountain zebras.

We made a brief detour to Walvis Bay to drop off one of our travellers and to see the flamingos before driving the short distance to Swakopmund.

When we arrived in Swakopmund, evening had fallen and it was really, really cold. After a few days in the heat of the desert we were all unprepared for the change in temperature. I know because I was wearing shorts. We stayed for 2 nights in Swakopmund so it gave us time to get some laundry done, always a problem when you're on the road. Swakopmund is styled as an adventure destination but I chose not to undertake any of the options on offer instead spending my time exploring the town. After a few days in the desert I couldn't resist the lure of paved roads, restaurants, shops and traffic lights.

We woke the next day to foggy skies. I could see a patch of blue out the window so I was confident the skies would clear. I packed up my stuff and started the walk into town. After a few steps, the Namibian predilection for old cars was evident.

The streets of Swakopmund were eerily quiet. Most of the houses appeared unoccupied and those houses that were inhabited took their security very carefully. Think high fences/electric fences/guard dogs and loads of warning signs.

Swakopmund is a beach resort with more than a nod to Namibia's period of German colonisation. I found half-timbered houses; sturdy government buildings; street signs in German and when I greeted some locals, our conversation was conducted in a combination of German and English.

I headed straight to the beach. I've always lived near water so I feel at home there. The water was cold and it certainly wasn't swimming weather but I enjoyed my walk along the beachfront.

The pier at Swakopmund.

After quite a few days of heat and red sand, I was thrilled to find patches of green all over the city.

The colourful Swakopmund Sea Rescue Initiative, sponsored by a paint company!

The old light house.

After our time in Swakopmund we returned to Mike, the truck, and drove along the Skeleton Coast to Khorixas. The sea was rough and it was easy to imagine how this boat met it's fate.

Our activity for the day was a visit to Spitzkoppe, also known as the Matterhorn of Namibia. I quipped that I was a bit disappointed at the lack of snow on the peak and one of our group members took my comment seriously! I've not been to Uluru but I've been to North West Western Australia and have travelled along the Gibb River Road. The scenery and the colours were so similar.

I kept taking photos. 

Cave paintings of rhinos and the bush men.

The Giant Arch

One of my favourite scenes.

We spent one night in Khorixas before making our way to Outjo. We had a few stops that day, and the first one was at the Petrified Forest. Without an internet connection I hadn't been able to check our itinerary for the day so I didn't even know there was a Petrified Forest in Namibia let alone that we were to visit it.

I can't remember if I'd seen petrified wood before. In the forest, there were whole trees and some of the trees had opalised.

This desert flower, the Welwitschiawas seen all over the forest.

Our visits for the day weren't over. We returned to Khorixas to refuel before heading to a Himba village. I'd seen some photos of Himba women and I was so looking forward to the visit.

I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, but a visit to a tribe who'd been relocated to a block of land behind a cultural centre probably wasn't what I had in mind. I think the place we visited was the 
Otjikandero Himba Orphan Village. Yes the men still tended their cattle but when the ladies ran short of maize flour for pap, they went up to the centre and restocked, often wearing western clothing.

The ceremonies and ritual behind the ladies dress and head gear was interesting as was their unique way of bathing without water.

The red colour is from a paste of ochre applied to the skin.

We we actively encouraged to take photographs of the rituals. I learnt little about the men, who don't wear traditional dress.

The unique himba head dress.

There were lots of little ones who attended the local school when old enough.

The ladies make and sell craft at a small market. 

We left the visit feeling a bit discomforted.

Our last stop on the tour before the tour ended in Windhoek was the Etosha National Park, where we spent 2 days on safari. Please don't expect loads of close-up photos of animals in the wild because I wasn't able to hire a telephoto lens for the safari. I tried a number of places including Fujifilm South Africa and a camera store in Cape Town and found there were too many hurdles to over come.

When I get some spare time I'll be back with part III, the final chapter, of my trip to Namibia.

Bye for now,


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