So we can only give our views of Namibia. Other parts of the continent of Africa will be very different!
Here is a map of Africa. You can see Namibia in pink near the southwest part of the continent.
Namibia, in pink.
Parts of Namibia remind us of Arizona or New Mexico in the United States. After all, much of Namibia is the desert. From what we understand, it is only the northern part close to the Angola border where it is more "green". We will be finding out for ourselves because we are going there in December!
We have done a LOT of driving over the last three weeks of our Namibia camping safari. In fact, we have driven approximately 2,500 kms (1,550 miles), much of it on dirt roads! When you do happen to be on a paved road, the speed limit is 120 km/h (75 mph) although of course we never go that fast. We can see why you might want to though, and most people do. There are a lot of amazing things to see in Namibia, but they are spread apart with miles of nothing in between!
Our drive so far. We still have to make it back to (A) Windhoek by Sunday.
Here's something we didn't know before coming here. There are a LOT of campsites in Nambia!
Our campsite at Waterberg Plateau Park.
A lot of the campgrounds are in the middle of nowhere. As such, the employees actually live at the campground/resort.
Campsites all have water and a braai (BBQ), and almost all have electrical outlets and a light. We have not seen many motorhomes, and we're not sure where they would dump their holding tanks in Namibia. Most camping here is tent camping, both rooftop and on the ground.
Here's another interesting thing about Namibia. The official language is English. However there are around 13 other languages spoken among the countries 2 million people. Everybody speaks at least a little English although German and Afrikaans are also popular besides the local languages. If you speak English, you can enjoy yourself here without worrying about language.
All of the signs are in English.
There is a LOT of wildlife.
Of course there is a lot in the National Parks. But even outside the national parks, there is more wildlife to be seen every day than there is anywhere in North America.
Birds. Reptiles. Animals. Insects.
Lots of them. Oh, except mosquitoes! We have only seen a couple of mosquitoes, not enough to bother us. The only insects that are slightly annoying we call face flies. These are exactly the same as house flies, but they are in your face! They don't bite, they simply buzz around you face, annoying you. Oh well, far better than mosquitoes!
This fellow was hanging from the tree over our table one night. He was pretty big!
Ostrich mommy and little one!
There are a lot of ostriches in this part of Africa. We see them every day. Sometimes in the middle of the desert where you wouldn't think there would be anything to eat.
If you're a bird watcher, you NEED to visit Namibia...
A southern masked weaver.
It is HOT in this part of Africa at this time of year. It has been well over 30C (86F) every day except when we were in Swakopmund. It is cooler on the coast due to air flow coming from the antarctic. The ideal time to visit Nambia is May through October, but that's also when you find more tourists and possible higher prices.
How hot is it...?
This candle started melting, and it wasn't even lit!
This part of Africa has a lot of extremes. We still haven't quite figured out how a lot of the local people manage to pay the prices here because salaries are so very low. And you see the poverty. And no, this isn't the type of American or Canadian "poverty" where being poor means you only have a room air conditioner and only basic cable for your three televisions. Some of these people truly have nothing.
When we go grocery shopping, it's typical to pay someone to watch your vehicle. Usually employed by the store itself, these parking lot guards get paid by the customer, and usually the going rate is N$1 (one Namibian dollar). Equivalent of about 10 cents U.S. or Canadian.
So the other day, we pull up to a grocery store where they didn't have onsite parking. Of course we look like tourists because of our rental vehicle and rooftop tent. This guy flags us over to a parking spot, and we quickly learned he didn't work for the store. And he didn't want money.
He wanted food.
He said the price for parking was a loaf of bread and some butter.
The problem is, you can't do this for everybody. Sure, the $3.00 or so to this kid wouldn't have meant anything to you or I, but people ask you for money fairly regularly. I told him it was too expensive and I paid him the same rate everybody else pays. 10 cents.
Another thing we notice is that although there is extremely high unemployment, the locals don't seem as entrepreneurial as the people in Mexico. Not sure why that is, and we would like to talk to someone local to find out more about the culture here. Hopefully when we get back to Windhoek on Sunday we'll have a day with a couchsurfer where we can find out more.
Ruth and the sunset last night.