Preview: Angola and Namibia
Angola is still recovering from over two decades of civil war. As we travel south through the many small villages and communities — local people — especially children may never have seen a foreigner before. The roads are at first extremely rough and slow going (especially if it has been raining). Military tanks litter the side of many roads in places. The country is slowly rebuilding its infrastructure and basic needs — with the capital of Luanda showing full sign of this slow progression.
Luanda is an interesting city, being one of the most expensive “international cities for expats”. While it’s true that most of the Angolan capital’s population lives in poverty on the outskirts of the city, in the center, Porsche Cayennes share the road with Cadillac Escalades and the latest Range Rovers. Hugo Boss makes such a killing here that it opened a second store within walking distance of the first.
Portuguese is the preferred language and hardly any of the “locals” we encounter will speak English. After the southern town of Lubango we head to the Namibian border. For those keeping track at home, at this point of my trip it will be the beginning of(Northern-Hemisphere) Spring, with daily temperatures between mid 50’s and mid 70’s.
Crossing into Namibia and into the region of the Owambo people , we pass through the country’s second largest town , Ondangwa (Town Motto: “Your gateway to the North and beyond”). Ondangwa is one of the main suppliers of beer to Northern Namibia — hopefully there will be enough left for us!
We continue towards Etosha National Park — recognised as one of the world’s greatest wildlife viewing areas. The semi desert is quite a contrast to the more fertile terrain I’ve come from. Besides game drives I’ll have the opportunity to game watch by night at one of the floodlit water holes where I may well spot Rhino, Elephant and Giraffe among a host of other wildlife.
Heading west into what is known as the Kaokoveld.The Kaokoveld is home to the Himba people, a tribe of nomadic pastoralists who to this day have shunned the advances of the modern world to keep with their tradition of leading nomadic lifestyles. They make a striking picture when we occasionally encounter them at the side of the road, as both men and women traditionally wear little clothing except for goats skin or modest cloth — opting to rub their bodies and hair with red ochre and fat which ultimately protects them from the sun.
We pass through the remote Coastline of the Skeleton Coast on our way to Swakopmund for a well earned break and to pay a visit to real showers that will get a work out after the remote areas we have just travelled through with no facilities. We may also fit in some time for adventure activities such as sky diving, quad biking and a spot of fishing.
Next we stay for a night or two in the capital Windhoek (pronounced vint-huuk). I’ll have the opportunity to check out the downtown core, with its influence of old world German architecture and twentieth century modernity side by side.
From Windhoek we head south to the border of South Africa and camp for 2 nights at a campsite overlooking the Orange River — named for the Dutch Royal House, as opposed to the color of the water — where I’ll have the opportunity to go for a canoe safari or just soak up the sun and relax by the river before crossing into South Africa.