Namibia is unlike any other country in Africa, with vast and ancient landscapes and the world's oldest desert, the Namib, it also has the Big Game Africa is famous for.
Namibia is a vast land, a land where distances are not counted in turns in the road but in the space from horizon to horizon. When driving in Namibia I would mark a point in the road in the distance and take the reading on the speedometer. The miles would fly by on the clock but the distance would stretch into the soul. The longest single stretch of visible road I measured was more than eleven and half kilometers.
White elephants of Etosha derive their color from the mud and dust of the region.
Like many wilderness areas in Africa Etosha National Park is a mere smattering of its original size. At one time the greatest wilderness area on the continent, the size of the park has shrunk over the past decades due to human conflict and interference.
Named for the vast Salt Pan that makes up a large percentage of the park Etosha is a place unlike any other natural wilderness area.
The seasons of Etosha are distinct - there is a rainy season and there is a dry season and it this dry season that defines the place. The heat is white and the dust greys the sky, herds gather at permanent waterholes to slake their thirst, the vegetation deteriorates into dust - and the predators lie in wait.
During the dry season the waterholes of Etosha, some natural springs and some man-made, attract countless animals. In fact it is not uncommon to see literally thousands of animals of more than ten different species in the vicinity of one waterhole at the height of the dry season.
The pan itself stretches as far as the eyes wander, melting into the horizon in a heat haze-tinged sky. There are the great African animal interactions but it is the space that calls the soul. The landscape is flat to the horizon with only a smattering of insels to break the sky and there is a place where the distance is broken by the Ondundozonanandana Hills.
The massive red dunes of Sossusvlei
The Namib Desert can be an intimidating place. When you lie awake in the unknown hours of the night and the world is enveloped in silence, with only the stars loudly flickering light years away, the mind can play out scenarios. The mental intimidation can be overwhelming.
The desert nights are accompanied by the ticking of thousands of barking geckos, a sound many find irritating - or overwhelming - but when these little creatures fall silent, as if on cue, the desert night takes on a new meaning. This is when the mind wanders into another realm.