Anne's suggestion of escaping to a tree house is an excellent option and one I was lucky enough to experience while touring Namibia in 2008 just around the time of the GFC – I can confirm we were completely oblivious to anything happening in the world!
Our tree house provided a little more shelter than the one Anne featured - our fellow travellers in similar digs spaced alongside a river. It was very hot and swimming in the river not an option with hippos and possible bilharzia parasites in the water (mind you many others decided to risk it).
We spent our time between cooling off in our open air shower; then flaking out in the hammock or on the bed. (For those interested in practicalities the toilet was located at the base of the tree!) It was chilly overnight – cosy under our doonas – to the sounds of the African bush and smells of the hippos swimming by (very stinky!).
The guesthouse bar was quirky with a wall of bank notes. We thought we’d struck it lucky - a $1 Billion Zimbabwean note – alas worth a mere $US1!!
Namibia was filled with wonderful experiences. A vast, mainly arid and sparsely populated land on the west coast of Africa.
We spent 3 weeks driving from south to north on gravel roads; our 12 hour days filled with sightings of wild animals grazing along the roadside - giraffes, zebra, kudu, springbok, ostriches. We would simply stop in the middle of the road for 1/2 hour or so and just observe them go about their day.
In the evenings we’d usually stay at a lodge or tented camp (the tree house was a one off!) and meet the local pets - at Solitaire Bokky was keen to explore our room for food and a baby meerkat enjoyed a cuddle. At another lodge peacocks on show.
The landscapes are stunning. The Namib Desert with its moving orange sand dunes, tree swallowed up to emerge hundreds of years later as dry skeletons. Known as Sossusvlei, it is a strange and alien landscape. The rich red dunes that surround the area owe their hue to age – over the thousands of years, the sand has literally rusted We ascend Dune 45 to admire the shadows.
Close by is Dead Vlei – a salt pan. Some 900 years ago the climate dried up, and dunes cut off Dead Vlei from the river. It became too dry for the trees to even decompose. They simply scorched black in the sun, monuments to their own destruction. The trees, now over 1000 years old, their trunks stark in flat landscape.
Another enormous salt pan is Etosha - the great white place the name taken from the San phrase place of mirages.
In summertime the rains cover the pan with a few centimetres of water feeding the springs and waterholes in the sparsely covered grass land attracting a huge concourse of birds, predators and other wildlife.
We visited the Himba people - men and women only wear a skimpy loin cloth. The people never wash, as water is too precious, instead applying a henna coloured paste to their skin, which also has the added advantage of keeping their skin looking youthful. Some may consider the price of eternal youth rather a high one though! Amazingly no body odour - just a smell a bit like strong margarine. I had some of the henna applied to my arm in a rash moment of daring but very pleased to wash it off again
They are a happy people and the children were gorgeous and as in all cultures getting up to the usual mischief.
The people are a delight - despite being terribly poor, their smiles are rich and the women especially always dressed in bright colours. We pass road side stalls, where rocks and dolls can be purchased or the women pose for a photo - an easy way for them to earn a small income.
This is just a small taste of what just one country in Africa has to offer. I will end this post with some of the sunsets and sunrises. Coming soon - an escape to Botswana.
(all images are my own)