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The camping bug bites the most respectable members of our community. Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula started exploring Namibia with fellow supreme court judge Dave Smuts and the late photographer Tony Figueira in the early 80’s. And even though work seems to be getting in the way of his hobby, we do believe that once a camper, always a camper. Here Judge Angula shares his thoughts on the best camping cars, scaling the Brandberg and why you should never leave your shoes outside the tent.
From towering sand dunes and ragged mountaintops to canyons carved deep into the earth and underground lakes, lush tropical vegetation to searing deserts, dry riverbeds to oases in the truest sense of the word. From the cold Atlantic Ocean to perennial rivers and floodplains, thundering waterfalls to the silence of the savannah grasslands. The landscapes of Namibia have inspired many who have had the privilege to set foot on this land. A source of life and livelihood, it is the land of immense diversity. Where you will find incomparable sunsets and space for the soul to breathe. It is the place we call home.
On a recent trip to Wolwedans I found myself in awe of the thriving desert life. It hasn’t rained here in the last five years, but that doesn’t mean that this part of the world has come to a standstill. Au contraire. We discovered life, and more significantly, growth in the desert. Inspired by the acacia forest we came across I dug up some interesting facts about the hardy camel-thorn tree. My motto for 2018 is “Be as tough as a camel-thorn.” Here is why:
Conservationists and biologists are usually, through the nature of their work, people who work in isolation – especially those that are field based. Communications between individuals or even organisations may be limited to formal information exchanged via publications, workshops or social media. Events that unite multiple people, structures and organisations in a personal and interactive manner, a sort of one-on-one interaction in the desert, swamp, ocean, savannah or wherever they might be working, are rare.
I had the good fortune to meet one such person. Mika Shapwanale, manager of the Mushara Collection east of Etosha.
On a recent visit to Mushara, Mika and I sat down in the shade of the trees and chatted about his journey in tourism. But it wasn't merely an exchange of the usual what do you do's. Mika is an exceptional person.
Bright green vineyards are set against a harsh desert backdrop. Neuras Wine and Wildlife Estate mainly consists of stony desert or savannah grassland but nevertheless, it is an oasis in every sense of the word. Because the estate sits on a geological fault that creates a near-perfect terroir for cultivating grapes. Five springs provide pure water, while the mountains shield the earth from the unforgiving desert wind and the alkaline soil is just right for vines.
Despite the way the Riemvasmakers found their way to Namibia, the small community thrives in the arid region west of Khoixas. Some live at Bergsig, some at Vrede, and some, like Bassons at De Riet, a small cluster of informal structures close to the Aba-Huab River. With little fencing to protect themselves or their livestock, the pre-fab church destroyed by a heavy rainstorm last year, they don't have much. But what they have been able to hold on to through all the disruption caused by the relocation, and years of living in harsh conditions is a sense of self and culture, as well as their beautiful Afrikaans mother tongue vocabulary that sets them apart from many cultural groups in the area.
Cheetahs are the fastest land animals on earth. Probably one of the most well-known mammals. They even make really cute plush toys. And in Namibia, their populations are on the up and up, due to the fantastic efforts of conservation organisations and government. But cheetahs still have a lot about them to surprise us with.
The only unfortunate thing about travelling to Namibia is the long flights to get here. However worthwhile, they can cause some short-lived discomfort. We’ve compiled a few tips on how to pass time, stay sanitary and catch some shut-eye.