The hardest thing about telling you about the next part of my ‘once in a lifetime’ trip to Namibia is choosing which photos to show you, as I can only post a few in each blog. And I took hundreds! So I’ll break the holiday down into instalments.
After the desert we travelled on long, lonely gravel roads to Swakopmund on the West coast. The sense of open space and big skies was overwhelmingly beautiful, and we barely saw any other traffic. With no phone signal, we were pleased we didn’t break down!
Swakopmund is a town much influenced by the German colonisation of Namibia in the late 19th century. It doesn’t feel hugely African, with it’s colonial style architecture, lighthouse, and a long seaside promenade with a pier stretching out into the waves.
It’s a base for exploring the place where the Namib desert meets the dramatic South Atlantic Ocean, the treacherous Skeleton Coast – so called because moving sandbanks and frequent dense fogs caused by hot desert air being rapidly cooled by the cold sea have been the cause of many a shipwreck.
We saw flamingoes, pelicans and herons, climbed massive sand dunes and drove along the beach sandwiched between the towering dunes and the Atlantic rollers, a la Top Gear!
Then it was on to Damaraland – an untamed, ruggedly beautiful area, home to desert adapted elephants and the delightful Damara people, one of the tribal groups of Namibia. We enjoyed so many incredible experiences throughout the entire trip but it was the people that will leave the most lasting impression – so happy and smiley, and content with their lives.
The Damara language is similar to the clicking dialect of the San (or Bushmen) also from Namibia. I’ve always been fascinated by this unusual way of communicating and was delighted to hear it for the first time. The different sounds are depicted by symbols such as ! and * when written down, and are incorporated into more standard words when spoken. Watch the video to hear it for yourself, I asked Michael and Sani to send a message to my family back in England.
While we were there we saw some engravings thought to be around 6000 years old at Twyfelfontein, a UNESCO and World Heritage site.
We also visited a Living Village Museum where a group of Damara people are keeping the traditions of their grandparents alive. It’s the first traditional Damara project in Namibia and a perfect way to experience the culture of these wonderfully welcoming people.
We were shown a tree nicknamed the ‘elephant’s foot’ tree, you’ll understand why when you see the photo.
And we were also lucky enough to see a family of real elephants which have adapted to the extreme conditions of the desert. I’ve added a photo of them here but if you love animals, wait for the next blog instalment of my adventure, where we get close up to many animals on safari, including rhino, cheetahs and a leopard!
We have a great week ahead of us at QVC with an Elemis event running from Tuesday through to Friday, evenings at 9pm. Fashion-wise, MarlaWynne features with shows on Friday and Sunday, Phase Eight returns on Sunday too, and and of course, I’ll be at the helm with Katie Pemberton as my guest for Morning Style on Wednesday at 10am. If you’re enjoying the signs of spring and wanting to get your garden sorted, make sure you join Dale and Michael Perry for a couple of hours at 10am on Friday and Simon for Garden Re-Leaf for two hours from 9am on Saturday and Sunday. Lots in store for you at QVC, whatever it is you love!
Best wishes, and take care