Amaz­ing Namibia

The People's Friend Special - - KNITTING 51 -

Solange Hando en­coun­ters stun­ning scenery and won­der­ful wildlife on Africa’s west coast.

NAMIBIA cap­tured my heart. I still dream of the vast, un­clut­tered land­scape – the moun­tains, desert and bush burst­ing with colour, and the wildlife more var­ied and abun­dant than any­where I had been in Africa.

Away from it all, with so few peo­ple around, it was al­most a mys­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence in a pris­tine land.

When we ar­rived, ba­boons greeted us as we left the air­port.

Af­ter a night in

Wind­hoek, the “windy cap­i­tal” at more than

5,000 feet above sea level, we trav­elled south along a quiet road, where dainty pic­nic spots beck­oned un­der the trees. Silky bush­man’s grass waved along the edge, rivers me­an­dered out of nowhere, and only the odd don­key and cart be­trayed a hu­man pres­ence.

We spot­ted our first ze­bras as we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn on our way to the Kala­hari, ex­cited as chil­dren head­ing for a new ad­ven­ture.

With its palm trees and swim­ming pool, our Kala­hari lodge seemed al­most un­real. But we didn’t stay there for long.

By late af­ter­noon we were in an open sa­fari truck, bounc­ing across the thorn scrub which frames the largest con­tin­u­ous ex­panse of sand on the planet.

We met a herd of blue wilde­beest, a cou­ple of court­ing os­triches, and oryx and spring­bok an­telopes hop­ping across the wilder­ness. There were horn­bills and birds of prey, but most im­pres­sive were the com­mu­nal nests of so­cia­ble weavers – each one large enough to ac­com­mo­date up to 300 birds.

We reached the dunes just in time for the sun­set; it was a breath­tak­ing scene, with the sand turn­ing a flam­ing red un­der the emer­ald bush.

The next day, we drove all the way to the deep south on near-de­serted roads. I had never seen so much flat land, although there were moun­tains and hills ris­ing in the dis­tance.

Just off the road, we saw the Quiver Tree For­est, so named be­cause bush­men once used the wood to

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