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