Namibia is desert. One long, neverending desert which takes days to cross on dirt roads. You hardly pass a town or house a day for most of it it’s that empty, as at less than two people a square kilometer, Namibia is one of the least sparsely populated countries on Earth. I’d never seen anything like it- for awhile I likened it to driving across Nevada until I realized there’s no way Nevada takes this long to get across and you run into some form of civilization every few hours at most.
The best thing about this desert is how amazing things keep turning up in it that you never would have expected. Like how about the second-largest canyon in the world?
No one has ever heard of the Fish River Canyon, mainly because it’s in the middle of nowhere, Namibia. If it was a bit more accessible I’m sure we’d all go on family vacations to see it, but frankly it’s a several days drive from anything so no one bothers except crazy overlanders.
A bit of the vertical scale in the canyon. Compared to the Grand Canyon that is undoubtedly the more colorful one- lots of reds there but none at all here- but other than that they’re pretty similar. Sure the Grand Canyon is longer, but not like you can tell from the ground.
Another fun detail- you are so in the middle of nowhere that the rest of the world could be destroyed and you’d never hear of it. How does the important news travel then? You read about things like Michael Jackson dying on a chalkboard in a lonely petrol station miles from nowhere… two days after it happened…
The other chalkboard I rather liked here by the way kept track of the rain levels over the past two years. 2008 saw a whopping 5mm of rain but this year 183mm has fallen already, classifying it as a “rainy season.”
I keep saying there’s next to no one in Namibia, and while that’s true there are obviously a few native nomadic tribes in the area. The most famous are the bushmen, hunter-gatherers whose numbers were tragically decimated by white settlers, but the Himba tribe has definitely been on a few National Geographic covers. We ran into a few Himba ladies selling jewelry in a small town called Opuwo and bought a few bracelets from them- funny thing is I never wear bracelets but have taken to wearing my patterned one made of cow horn regularly. And in case you were wondering yes, none of the Himbas wear any more clothing than this woman and the reddish color is from a spread of butter and ochre to thwart sunburn.
What a beautiful, strange country.