12-day road trip South Africa – Namibia. Day 9-12: Windhoek and Keetmanshoop, Namibia; Griquatown, South Africa.

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12-day road trip South Africa – Namibia.

Day 9-12: Windhoek and Keetmanshoop, Namibia; Griquatown, South Africa.

After experiencing the tranquillity of the Namib-Naukluft desert  the capital of Namibia Windhoek appeared to be pretty hectic, and, like most capital cities, it was getting ready to close its businesses for the festive season.

Although Namibia is a relatively small country, averaging just three people per square kilometre and totalling barely over two million people, it has an incredibly diverse culture. There are 12 different major ethnic groups with a large range of tribes among them, and about 30 unique languages are spoken throughout the country.

We were lucky enough to meet people from different tribes while travelling through Namibia and to capture representatives of two tribes. 

We met Himba ladies at the Windhoek craft market.The Himba live in the remote Northwest corner of Namibia and many still live a traditional, semi-nomadic lifestyle, raising sheep, goats, and cattle in relative isolation. Many Himba women living in rural villages still go topless and smear their skin and hair with otjize - a mixture of butter, ash, and ochre to keep them looking youthful. 

The second tribe we met were Herero people. It is believed, that they moved to Namibia from the East African region and settled around Lake Tanganyika.  According to their oral history they came down from a lush area, with much water and grass, but with the 350 years that have passed, they have acclimatised nicely to the dry Namibian environment. Today they are a pastoral cattle breeding nation, mostly living in the central and eastern parts of Namibia. The distinct features of the Herero culture are the dresses that the women wear which pay homage to the importance of cattle farming to the Herero people.  Women wear a horn shaped hat which is made from a rolled cloth and stretches out horizontally on either side of their heads. 

 

After spending two nights in Windhoek we continued to Keetmanshoop, a city in the Karas Region of southern Namibia which lies on the Trans-Namib Railway from Windhoek to Upington in South Africa. It is named after Johann Keetman, a German industrialist and benefactor of the city. The town is situated close to two quiver tree forests, one of them being a national monument and a major tourist attraction of Namibia. What makes the Quivertree forests so magical are the quiver trees (Aloe dichotoma) - the distinctive forked aloes found amoung the jungle of massive dolerite boulders on the Gariganuns farm outside Keetmanshoop. Next to Quivertree forest is the Giant’s Playground. The geologist will tell you otherwise, but I favour the romantic view that piles of the black blocks were laid down by creative giants. The dolorites at the quiver tree forest and giant's playground form part of the bigger sill complex. The dolorites are magma that was pressed up, but cooled off just below the earth's surface. The softer parts of the stone and the top layer of the earht's crust erodated away, leaving the dolorites exposed. The dolorites are between 160 and 180 million years old, andcover an area of 180 000 km2 in the Keetmanshoop region.

As it is quite a long drive from Keetmanshoop back to Durban, which also included a one hour border crossing we decided to spend a night at Griqua Guest House, Griquatown (Grikwastad). Home-made meals were offered from Proviand, the restaurant/coffee shop which is in a historical building and can be found  further down in town.

 

Our 12-day Road trip South-Africa Namibia ended with the beautiful drive to our hometown Durban. And we are ready for our new adventure #10-daysInMauritius starting tomorrow:-)

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