Goodbye Namibia – goodbye Africa

Etosha National Park

Today I am leaving Namibia. The only country where I haven’t interviewed any humanists. So far, I know the country doesn’t have any humanist or atheist organisations – or at least no organisations are members of Humanists International.

I decided to visit anyway – purely for recreational reasons. So, I have been on holiday the last week, experiencing Namibia. A fascinating country almost twenty times the size of Denmark, but the population is half the size of Denmark. It is the least dense country in Africa with only 3 people per square kilometre – In the whole world only Mongolia is less dense (2 people per square kilometre).

Namibia has is all, in great amount. Savanna, desert, ocean, mountains etc. And everything is big – the national parks goes on forever, you drive for hours through each park in search for animals. For the first time ever, I have been part of a tourist group with people I didn’t know beforehand. I’m used to be the only one or travelling with Sofie.

It’s been interesting travelling with other tourists, even though it means you don’t get as close to the guide or the locals. You meet people from all over the world who are interested in the same things as you – to see some animals up close and spend time in a 40-degree desert after hours and hours of driving. Canadians, Americans, Namibians, British, South African and French – the latter has spent the last 8 years sailing around the world in their own boat (impressive).

Cheetah in Solitaire

The wild life is amazing – I saw my first leopard (2 actually) and my first cheetahs. Black rhinos, elephants, zebras, Oryx’s and many other animals. It is much drier here than in the other countries I have visited – Namibia is dry, but also feels the consequences of the climate changes.

There has never been much water in this dry land – maybe one of the reasons for the small population – but it is getting worse. They change salt water to drinking water to cover the need. And everybody is asked to save water wherever we go. On the positive side the water is clean enough for me to drink – I don’t need to bye water all the time.

The most overwhelming experience was the Namibian Desert – especially the orange sand dunes. This is the oldest desert in the world. The sun is relentless, the wildlife is well hidden – but there are some. We managed to come across the mountain zebra, many oryx’s, jackals and other animals.

Dune no 45

Some from the group climbed the Crazy Dune – aka Big Daddy – it is 325 meters tall. You must get up at 5 o’clock in the morning or else it will get to hot to climb. I didn’t get up there but walked to Deadveil to look at a dried-out flood pan with trees which have been dead for 800 years – a fascinating place.

We had a nice view of all the ‘crazy’ people climbing the dune while the sand got hotter and hotter. Soon we could all feel the hot sand burning through the bottom of our shoes – and it was only 11 o’clock. The temperatures were reaching 40 degrees at noon.

Etosha pan

This country was definitely worth a visit. It was a so-called protectorate of South Africa until 1990 – or the real story is that South Africa didn’t follow the agreements made in the UN, so they took power over Namibia and treated it as a protectorate and even implemented apartheid rules. It took 35 years before Namibia finally got its independence.

When I leave Namibia – I also leave Africa heading home to Denmark. It has been an amazing trip, and an experience of a lifetime – I have been away for 10 weeks, 2½ months. This was a test run. I wanted to find out whether I can travel a long time on my own. I can. I do not have any problems travelling alone – I met a lot of people on the way. I talk to locals, I talk to tourists – and I meet humanists, atheists and non-believers.

They are the heroes of Africa today. They are fighting for human rights and humanism. They are fighting for their life stance in a part of the world where they are the odd one out. Their stories deserve to be told – and to be heard.

When I arrive in Denmark, I will start planning my next steps. I want to visit several countries in Africa north of Equator. I would also like to cover some countries in the Middle East. I hope to be on the road again in April, but I will continue blogging about my experiences from Africa.

Some facts:

Namibia (Denmark)

Population:   2.6 mio. (5.8 mio.)

Area:   825.000 km2 (43.000 km2)

Density: 3/km2 (133/km2)

Life expectancy: 64 years (80 years)

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