On one of many adventurous family trips, my sister and I were given the opportunity to catch a glimpse of our mother’s early childhood in Southern Africa. Our mother invited us to visit Southern Africa as she was born in Cape Town, South Africa – the land of the mighty Springboks and today still regarded by many, as the powerhouse of Africa. The Southern African region is made up of a host of 15 countries stretching from the southern coastal tip of Cape Point to the uninhabited jungles of the DRC. But it was during our four week Safari through the wilderness of Southern Africa from Cape Town to Victoria Falls, when we got to visit Namibia – the birthplace of my talented and lovely grandfather – Harold Jacobs. My grandfather was born and raised in desert lands of Namibia and I heard our family could always apply for a Namibian passport if we would like. However I think I got more than enough citizenships at the moment – but that’s for another story! Now back to Namibia and why this country is a must-see!
Namibia – the name of this absolutely breath-taking country is derived from the ‘Namib Desert’, which is considered to be the oldest desert in the world. It was in this desert, where we experienced the incredible sights and sounds of all what Namibia had to offer. Some national treasures that you ought to visit, while travelling throughout this foreign land, include the Fish River Canyon, Deadvlei (clay pan where the film “Cell” starring Jennifer Lopez was shot), the Kalahari desert (where the locals go hunting for some mouth-watering game meat) and the infamous Dune 45 (the most photographed dune in the world, 80km high).
My task to you is to see how fast you can run up the infamous Dune 45! My sister and I made a bet to our tourguide that we could reach the top of the sand dune before anyone else on the tour. Five minutes after screaming back to the crowd “See ya at the Top”, we were panting, out of breath and watching the little old ladies patting us on the back – reaching the top before the silly both of us. The view from the top is spectacular as you see the entire red desert beneath you and blue skies all around.
We had visited the Etosha National Park to watch the interactions between wildlife and the hot, dry, salt-encrusted Etosha pan. It’s an incredible viewing of herds of Zebra, Elephants, Springboks and impala – either running along the planes or drinking from a nearby water-hole. The giraffe at the waterhole are quite an entertaining viewing opportunity – to see how wide these precious animals spread their legs and bow down to the ground just for a little sip of water.
We did not get much of an opportunity to interact with the local community as we were on a safari however on my next visit, I will love to get the real local experience. Until I am able to give an accurate depiction, here is a brief history on the Namibian people – about 2.2 million people share the vast spaces of Namibia, the country has one of the lowest population densities in the world with 1.5 people per square kilometre. Namibia’s population can be divided into (at least) 11 ethnic groups, the biggest group of which is the Owambo people. Due to the unfortunate apartheid history of Namibia the division of people into cultural or tribal groups is an extremely sensitive issue, and most people prefer to think of themselves as Namibians.
We spent our last few days in Swakopmund, a beach resort founded in 1892 as the main harbor for German South-West Africa. Fun celebrity fact, this is where Brad & Angelina gave birth to their first child, Shiloh. I can see why, as I absolutely loved the town and partook in several adventure sports like riding the desert on either ATVs or wooden boards. My mother and other tour peeps decided to try out the real adventure sports like skydiving, however I think I will wait until my mid-life crisis to give it a go.
I can’t deny that the ride up the dunes and along the coastline on the ATVs was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. The red sand dunes, clear blue skies and cold blue waters of the skeleton coast are absolutely breath-taking. One day I shall definitely visit again and conquer those gorgeous red sand dunes.