Africa has a special place in our heart. Since our first visit to Madagascar, which amazed us so much, we kept coming back to various countries. The people are pristine, the animals are so interesting and the landscape is amazing. We wanted to visit Namibia since we were a young couple without kids.
Namibia is the second most sparsely populated country in the world. It has the oldest desert in the world, The Namib Desert, and the highest sand dune in the world. The Fish River Canyon the Southern part of the country is the second largest canyon in the world just after the Grand Canyon. It also has the largest number of cheetah living in the wild. So many reasons to visit!
Last year we suddenly felt it was the right time to go. To see it with our own eyes and to show our kid our beloved continent, Africa.We rented a car with a rooftop tent and drove through almost the entire country of Namibia. It was so interesting to see that there is a big difference between the Southern part and the Northern part.
In the South there are vast landscapes and kilometers of wire fence that enclose massive private ranches that can be as big as our country, Slovenia. The lansdcape is incredibly dry, but with unbelievable views everywhere you look. Apart from the ranch owners and their staff, you might not see a person for days.
The northern part, on the other hand, is just the opposite. The landscapes are not so dry anymore, but with lots of villages, people walking by the road, carrying their everyday stuff and taking their everyday routes.
We spent more than half of our trip in the northern part. It was great to travel around and admire magical desert, interesting seaside, inaccessible mountains, wild animals that surround you everywhere. But when we finally draw the line under the journey, it was the people that made the biggest impression on us. Despite all the natural beauty and fantastic animals, people gave us memories that we will never forget. We always had the desire to show once to our son the world that surrounds us. To show him people, different cultures, how do they live, what do they eat.
The village school that we visited upon our arrival to the northern part, was just the preparation for a little shocking transition to real African tribes. And whenever we watch photos and videos from our visit to that school, we immediately see Jaka, standing there, shocked in one way and curious in another. How he observed these barefoot children who were singing and dancing for him. After the school we visited the first “real” Himba village. The village is frequently visited by tourists, but it was still a great way to meet for the first time Himba people and prepare ourselfs for the true, unforgettable experience that followed.
Our plan was to visit a new, even more remote Himba village somewhere between the hills of northwestern Namibia. After almost an hour’s drive along the local dusty road, our guide, a Himba guy, Owen, finally found the place to turn. There was no road, not even a path. Just plenty of african bush everywhere. Driving there was just crazy. After about 10 minutes of driving through the bushes we finally saw it: a mysterious himba village with typical houses.
As soon as we stopped the car, a half naked warrior approached us with a machete on his shoulder. He was tall and well built and he could be a model for a fitness commercial video without a problem. We saw from his face, that he was also surprised with unexpected guests. Mat and Owen stepped out of the car and were immediately approached by another 3 warriors all with nice, long, sharp spears. They talked to Owen and it seemed that conversation was not really friendly. And we have to admit that we did not feel very comfortable. And then, after a few long minutes of their conversation, Jaka slowly stepped out of the car (they still didn’t see him because he was on the other side of the car). He closed the back door, went around the car, took Mat by the hand and looked at the locals, who were watching him like he fell from the sky. ‘Moro Moro’ (meaning – hi, good day in their language) was the only word that he knew and spoke to them. And this changed everything. The men started to laugh, they invited us to the village and we spent an amazing couple of hours together. At the end they tried to convince us to spend a night there. And if not, just asked us to leave Jaka for one more day and pick him up tomorrow.
As our journey was slowly coming to the end, we wanted to visit another tribe as well. It was worth it, beacause it was the best experience we had during our trip. Hakaone tribe, some of them also say Zemba tribe, is largely overlooked by visitors to Namibia. And we probably would also have missed them if Mat had not found a photographer, who made an amazing portfolio of their everyday life. The village was far away from tourist routes and till then, never visited by tourists. When the village children first saw our Jaka, they ran away, because Jaka was the first white child that they had seen in their life and they were so scared of him. When we saw this, we knew that we had come to the right place. The chief of the village and all inhabitants were very friendly from the beggining and those 2 days and 1 night, that we spent with them, were really something special. Observing their daily lives, playing with children, talking with village elders, watching girls cooking… etc. Those everyday things are impossible to forget.
In Namibia we had an amazing time. It really was what we were expecting and gave us even a lot more. We already knew it, but this was the first time our son saw the world that is so different than ours. He realized that many things are not guaranteed. That kids of his age have to go in the bush instead of going to school, to watch for their cattle and defend it from leopards and other wild animals.
Before Namibia he was a bit picky, but after he saw what are the conditions in Africa, he started to eat everything and doesn’t throw leftover food in trash anymore.On this trip it was the first time Jaka didn’t want to go home at all.
This fact can tell you everything.