Category: Namibi, 2015

Preparing for Namibia

Well, we’re headed to Namibia.  Where the hell is that, you ask?  Well, here’s a map, which, as you can see, places it above South Africa and west of Botswana.


Why Namibia?  Well, why not?  We haven’t been there, and we’ve heard from multiple sources that it’s terrific, so it’s been high on our list for some time.  Then, Nevada Weir, the fabulous photographer I’ve traveled to China and Cuba with announced a trip, and we pounced on it.  When Nevada announces a trip, you either pounce on it, or you don’t go, because she has a following that generally snarfs up all the spots within a day.  If you’re curious as to why I describe her as a fabulous photographer, check out her website,  But it wouldn’t matter that she was a fabulous photographer if she didn’t run terrific trips.  She does.  They’re interesting, adventuresome and fun.  Though Nevada’s trips are photography trips, some are hard core photography trips that wouldn’t be good for a non-photographer like Carol, and some are much softer core, like this one.

Here’s a bit about Namibia, stolen (as usual) from several websites.  Among the best of these is the Namibian government website.  I’ve eliminated most of what seemed hyperbolic to me, but inevitably, a (perhaps overly) rosy picture emerges.  Well, you wouldn’t expect a government website to highlight problems or understate the glories of the country, would you? 

Namibia is a vast country, even by African standards, covering an area approximately four times the size of the United Kingdom but with a population of a mere two million – one of the lowest densities in the world. It is also an ageless land; visible through its heritage of rock art created by stone-age artists and geological attractions such as the magnificent sand dunes of the Namib Desert. Added to the space and silence, these all contribute to a feeling of antiquity, solitude and wilderness.  


The climate is typical of a semi-desert country. Days are warm to hot and nights are generally cool. Temperatures are modified by the high plateau in the interior and by the cold Benguela Current that runs along the Atlantic coastline. Except for the first few months of the year, the country is generally dry with very little rain.

The history of Namibia can be found carved into rock paintings found to the south and in Twyfelfontein, some dating back to 26,000 B.C. A long lineage of various groups including San Bushmen, Bantu herdsmen and finally the Himba, Herero and Nama tribes among others have been making this rugged land home for thousands of years.

But, as Namibia has one of the world’s most barren and inhospitable coastlines, it wasn’t until the middle of the nineteenth century that explorers, ivory hunters, prospectors and missionaries began to journey into its interior. Beyond these visitors, Namibia was largely spared the attentions of European powers until the end of the 19th century when it was colonized by Germany and called South West Africa. The discovery of diamonds in 1908 prompted an influx of Europeans. 

The colonization period was marred by many conflicts and rebellions by the pre-colonial Namibia population until WWI when it abruptly ended upon Germany’s surrender to the South African expeditionary army, who administered it under a League of Nations mandate. In effect, this transition only traded one colonial experience for another.  Germany has apologized to Namibia for the colonial-era killings of thousands of members of the Herero ethnic group; their descendants have asked Berlin for financial compensation.

In 1966 the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) launched the war for liberation for the area soon-named Namibia. The struggle for independence intensified and continued for more than twenty years, until South Africa agreed in 1988 to end its Apartheid administration. After democratic elections were held in 1989, Namibia became an independent state on March 21, 1990.  To date, Namibia boasts a proud record of uninterrupted peace and stability.

Inter-racial reconciliation encouraged the country’s white people to remain and they still play a major role in farming and other economic sectors.  In recent years supporters of land reform have become more vocal. The expropriation of white-owned farms began in 2005 and the government says it aims to resettle many thousands of landless citizens.

Our basic trip is about two weeks, but I will be doing an extension of about five days to have more contact with some of the indigenous cultures.  Carol is flying back after the basic trip.

So, that’s probably enough to digest, pre-trip.  We take off Sunday, and I’ll give you some more background then.


4 comments to Preparing for Namibia

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>