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The Himbas September 20, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Beauty, Cows, Culture, Education, Home and away, Namibia.

It was in Damaraland where we visited one of the last surviving, truly traditional groups in Namibia, the Himba people. The Himbas are a group of matrilineal nomadic cattle herders known for their defiance against the pull towards modernity. Despite the rapid developments in towns across Namibia, the Himbas continue to live in a traditional way, abiding by their tribal laws, dress and rituals, despite the discrimination they face from other Namibians for being “the ones left behind”. In order to be accepted into society or to send their children to school, they are expected to conform and reject their traditions. But it is their traditions that define their identity and existence, and so their children remain uneducated, unemployed and unaccepted. With their life in the village, it is easy to forget that a world of technology and development exists, and whilst the Himbas are self-sufficient and live a more-or-less sustainable lifestyle through their cattle herding, they do encounter modern life when they visit the growing towns around Namibia, which they find challenges their ethos. (more…)


Namibia, the Land of Contrasts September 20, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Beauty, Home and away, Namibia, Weather.
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As I drove around the country with my family, I was continually surprised and amazed by the stunning scenery that makes up this wonderful country. In just a matter of kilometres you can find dramatic rock plateaus and a giant underground lakes in the middle of the flat veld, to vast salt pans of an ancient prehistoric lake. Damaraland alone is totally indescribable in beauty and contrast. The geology of the area lends plays tricks with your eyes, as the formations around you morph in shape and colour as you pass. Huge clusters of smooth and spherical Dolomite balls litter the plains like piles of giant beans. Other outcrops are aggressive and sharp, the result of thousands of years of techtonic activity and baking sun. (more…)

Like Disney September 17, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Beauty, Hot, Weather.
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Spring has officially arrived in the southern hemisphere. The skies are still bright and blue, but now the sun is shining stronger and the winter chills are no more. The Namibian newspaper weather report now reads “hot to very hot” with temperatures at a comfortable 25-30oC. I no longer have to worry about layering up, and can now ride around on my bike in just a t-shirt and flip-flops.

This change happened overnight. One day it was sunny and cold, and now it is sunny and hot with all the trimmings of the beginning of summer. The sun sets at a more reasonable time, allowing us time to dash from the office to a decent bar to catch sundown. The burning sky over the mountains at the end of the day feels so much more powerful when the air is warm and the wine is cold.

What really gets me is the nature. Bougainvillea sprawls over fences and buildings, bright pink and red with fresh green leaves, clashing brightly with the purple jacarandas which have sprung into bloom. Jasmine headily fills the air, thick and sweet, encouraging me to bend over and smell all flowers that I pass. As I cruise around the neighbourhood on my scooter, parades of luminous yellow, blue and green birds burst out of trees and bushes; mongooses race along the street ahead of me before ducking into redundant rain pipes. Hornbills and fat doves chill together on the telephone wires, chattering away about their winter holidays.

I think Walt Disney might have had a hand in designing Windhoek in the springtime.

My birthday September 10, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Beauty, Creatures, Culture, Namibia, Time out.

For the first year in many, I spent my birthday with my parents. Being an August Bank Holiday birthday, I’m often away, but this year, my parents decided to join me. And being such a unique event, I thought I’d share it.

I woke up in the Bush Chalet at the Waterberg Plateau, with all sorts of clattering going on as my Godmum, Louise, friend Cynthia and my parents set about preparing breakfast for their first morning in Namibia. Considering we’d driven the women pretty much straight from the airport to the Waterberg Plateau, they had far too much energy. I stepped out bleary-eyed to a chorus of “Happy Birthday”, before being ushered out to the patio of our chalet, which had the most incredible view, positioned half way up the wall of this stunning plateau. For once, I had presents to open, and in the warm sunshine no less (it almost always rains on my birthday – British Bank Holiday timing!).


Bootilicious August 6, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Beauty, Culture, Gender, Namibia.

“Sista, are you African?”

“No, I’m from the UK. I’m English”

“Ahh. I can see you are white and what-what, but your body, it is like an African, not a white person. Are you sure you are not African?”

Unlike back home, a big round bottom is highly appreciated here and the African women sure have them. And apparently so do I. (more…)