It’s like experiencing the Discovery Channel – Namibia

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By Jacqueline W Asheeke

Why is it that when you go on holiday to rest, you return home tired?

Here’s my prescription for you to avoid coming home feeling worn out.

Etosha lions

OK… Picture this: you’re going on holiday some place exciting, such as Namibia – where ‘Brangelina’ had their baby girl, where shipwrecks lie high and dry among sand dunes, and ‘Where in the World Matt’ Lauer of NBC’s Today Show visited.

In this Internet age, you’ve checked everything online and have some idea of what you’ve chosen to do. There are so many things to see and do: different foods to taste and experiment with; new people and varied cultures to learn and enjoy; lots of local people singing in ethnic ‘click’ languages and dancing; and, of course, there’s an itinerary to follow so that you don’t get lost.

You can enjoy views of wildlife sleeping off the heat of the summer sun in the famous Etosha National Park. The sights may include elephants taking dust baths and throwing sand all over the place, and tiny springbok babies hidden carefully in the high grass while their mothers are off grazing.

That lioness is you!

Use your mind and substitute the vision of yourself for the gorged and contented lioness sleeping on her back under a huge acacia tree. C’mon – close your eyes and feel it! You know how you feel after a hearty Thanksgiving meal; so throw your legs in the air, roll left and right slightly until your meal has settled, and that lioness is you! Anyone watching you will, of course, think you’ve lost your mind, but you’re getting yourself in the mood for a relaxing vacation, so tell them that you’ve just taken your meds, and go with the flow!

Imagine more… keep going….

There are thunderous waves on the Namibian coast and you can hear and feel them as you have a seafood dinner in a restaurant overlooking the sea in Swakopmund. Ride a horse along the beach and slowly become one with the surf, or do a dolphin cruise offshore and enjoy the seabirds and seals. Perhaps, if your timing is exactly right, you’ll see the tail of a whale migrating through Namibia’s coastal waters.

Picture yourself there – you are enjoying a luxury lodge for two nights and then camping in a rural area for another night; you are singing and dancing around an open fire after eating barbecued game meat and tossed salads while sipping an ice-cold Windhoek Lager. Or you’re in a communal conservancy spending a night or two in a comfortable lodge and listening enthralled to traditional stories that have been told for centuries. You marvel at a sky undimmed by the bright lights of a major city, and you see a multitude of stars you’d never imagined were there!

Outdoor massage at Gocheganas

Then again, you might be in Windhoek for a few nights, taking a sauna or having a desert massage with heated stones laid gently on your aching back.

Concentrate hard now… that’s you!

Birds of all colours abound

You’re in a vehicle driving several hours to a fantastic location while you enjoy moonscapes and vast scenery as the road slips by. Maybe you can catch a nap during the drives? The van is comfortable and the air-con is doing its thing. Slide down and drop off. Now that, too, is relaxing! Voilà! You are up in an aircraft or a hot-air balloon, blasting your mind’s senses with the view of Sossusvlei and sand dunes reflecting the rainbow colours of the sunset. Switch your mind scenes again and you’re in a boat, watching hippos dip themselves into the deep waters of a river in the Kavango Region in north-eastern Namibia, or in neighbouring Caprivi. Birds of all colours are everywhere; and crocodiles lurk in the rivers. Perhaps you’re staying at a riverside lodge, scheduled to enjoy that area for a few days.

The imagined visions are not over yet…. You are now in north-central Namibia watching women make marula oil from nuts they harvest annually, as they have been doing for generations past. You rub some raw oil on your skin and feel the age lines disappear. Sign me up! Where can I get that oil? My wrinkles are shouting to be relieved of duty. I am happily tired just writing about it! That is the key, isn’t it? To be happily tired.

My advice is this: it’s best to extend your holiday in Namibia a bit by adding a couple of days of leisure in between activities. Make the things you’ve imagined become real. Rather than have only one night in each lodge, spend two nights in a few places. Have a sundowner cocktail, or two… maybe even three… You’re on vacation and you’re not driving! Enjoy. Sleep late or rise early just to see the sky light up in multi-colours as it greets the Namibian sun. You’ve earned it! Be lazy for a while.

Once the itinerary is done and before the long flight back home, take an extra day or two to wander around the shops to buy some Namibian jewellery, or a Swakara jacket or an ostrich-leather bag… everyone back home, at the office or in church on Sunday will drool when they see you wearing these unique holiday-memory items. Each thing you bring back, large or small, comes with a story. Share these stories; a vacation in Namibia is indeed a remarkable experience!

Yeah… you’ll still be tired coming home, but what a way to be tired! Ahhh…

This article appeared in the Autumn 2012 edition of Travel News Namibia.


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