The Raw, Consuming Beauty of Namibia

by Ekua on January 10, 2013 in d.i.y. travel,Namibia,the natural world,why i travel

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.

Desert scenery in Namibia

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Marsha January 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Hauntingly beautiful and honest, Ekua. Loved it.

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Rebecca January 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Beautifully written.

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Ekua January 13, 2013 at 9:39 pm

@Marsha & Rebecca – Glad you enjoyed this!

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Michael Hodson January 25, 2013 at 3:47 am

I need to get back around to re-editing all my Namibia photos and get them republished up on my site. Such a great country to explore. Better yet… need to get my ass back there.

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Ekua January 27, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Yeah, I feel like a covered most of Namibia’s highlights but I still missed a few places! Visually and culturally it’s one of the most unique places I’ve visited and I could definitely see myself going back one more time if I got the chance. The landscapes are unreal.

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Tiny Girl with Big Bag January 26, 2013 at 6:20 am

Such a hidden place, and so many hidden gems on this land. I feel like I would like to visit it one day.. well, during a vacation though. Hope that it also counts :)

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Ekua January 27, 2013 at 1:05 pm

I went there during a vacation… the point I was making is that if you really want to see the country in depth, it’s not the easiest country to travel in because it’s pretty rugged, there are long distances to go, etc. There are places you visit for a relaxing vacation from work and other places you visit for an adventure and a challenge. Overall, Namibia falls into the latter category!

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Cyeka April 9, 2013 at 1:49 am

Oh dear, I really want to feel the feeling you had while visiting such place. I wish someday i have that opportunity to see what out there.

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Erika July 22, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Hi Ekua,
I just wanted to say that your descriptions of Namibia are so spot-on and really capture the barren beauty of this country. I have been living and teaching in Namibia for the year through WorldTeach and can’t wait to explore more of it in August during holiday. Your descriptions of the various destinations make me really excited for my upcoming trip! Thanks!

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