Namibia is not a place to take a vacation. It’s a place to delve into beauty, undoubtedly—an alien beauty arising from dust and sand. It’s a place to have the boundaries of your mind expanded by nature’s lack of boundaries; by the great absence of anything or by the presence of something in the most unlikely location. It’s a place to enjoy the thrill of observing numerous species of wildlife in their intended habitats.
But it’s not a vacation. Namibia makes you work to discover its cache. You’ll have to take the longest, bumpiest, dustiest drives to get anywhere. You’ll have to trek across enormous peaks of sand while the sun shines on you with a vividity you’ve never known, and you’ll have to ration the last hot drops of water in your bottle. Namibia will laugh at your notions of wildlife waiting for you just outside your room. It’ll make you rise while it’s still dark to roam the savanna for the smallest glimpses of the kind of nature documentary scenes you were imagining before you arrived. And along your journey through Namibia, you may discover that it’s a country full of horrific secrets hidden deeper in its recesses than even the most elusive animals. Observing the country with open and honest eyes, you’ll see the lasting effects of apartheid and untold genocide.
You’ll see the natural world in all of its ruggedness and rawness. You’ll watch a cheetah devour an antelope it recently hunted for breakfast with the carcass before her and blood smeared all over her face. Gripped by the brutal honesty of this primal act of survival, your eyes will stay fixed on this sight. And in watching it comes a deep sense that you are not just observing the circle of life, but you are a part of it in a way you’ve never felt before, like you are summoning a wild and intrinsic part of yourself that lays dormant in the modern world.
The 2000+ miles you’ll travel in barren Namibia will leave you feeling like the speck on the Earth that you are. The large 4×4 and safari trucks that you’ll ride around the country in seem designed for conquering, but they only allow you to roll over the surface. The untamed landscape of Namibia is not to be conquered, it consumes. The sand, the emptiness, and the endless desert will swallow you up, pull you closer to the Earth, and embed the Earth more deeply in your soul.