// MY NAME IS DANIELAnd after years of dreaming I've sold everything I own and set off on the open road. I've made this site as a sort of photo journal of my travels. The map shows where I've been (red), where I've stayed a month or more (yellow), and where I plan to go (white). And so, armed with little more than a backpack, a camera, and a dream, I now take the road less traveled by. So it goes.
LUDERITZ KARAS REGION My sister and I arrived in Namibia from South Africa in our rental car. The change in landscapes was stark and immediate. Much of Namibia is defined by the coastal Namib Desert to one side and the inland Kalahari Desert to the other. Our first major stop was the cute German colonial town of Luderitz on the Atlantic coast. Founded in 1883 and growing to prosperity due to diamonds in the hills beyond the town, the town slowly declined in importance when the diamond mines moved further south, and today it is primarily a fishing town a bit off the beaten path.
AUS KARAS REGION Aus is just a small town on the long, desolate road to Luderitz. Namibia covers thousands of miles in every direction, but being so sparsely populated and mostly desert, small towns like Aus are important way points with gas, food, and lodging. The town is also tied to the country's history. The word Aus is Khoekhoe for "big snake". In 1884 the Germans took most of Namibia as a German colony but they lost nearly all their African possessions decades later with their defeat in the first World War. South Africa, a part of the British Commonwealth at the time, took over administration of Namibia and it was in Aus that German prisoners were housed by the South Africans. South Africa would eventually break from England to be governed by an apartheid government and the indigenous peoples of Namibia would demand their independence from South Africa, finally achieving it in 1990. Today the country is multi-racial, with around 84% Black, 8% Mixed-raced, and 7% White. The Black population includes both Bantu-speakers who arrived during the Great Bantu Migration in the 14th Century and the indigenous San and Nama peoples who were the original inhabitants in southern Africa. Also take note of the feral horses below. Their origins are not entirely known, but they've evolved to survive in the desert, urinating less than normal horses and able to go up to five days without water. They're a common sight along the highway.
KOLMANNSKUPPE KARAS REGION Kolmannskuppe (today Kolmanskop in Dutch) is a German colonial mining town founded around 1908 when diamonds were discovered here. An entire town was built in the desert almost over night, complete with a hospital, school, theater and ballroom, power station, along with the first tram in Africa as well as the first X-Ray machine (used to check the miners for any diamonds they may have swallowed). Speaking of smuggling, the museum here shows a few clever ways the workers attempted to steal diamonds, including carrier pigeons and secret boot compartments. The town was abandoned in 1956 when the diamonds dried up and has since been all but swallowed by the desert.
MALTAHOHE HARDAP REGION My sister and I managed several farm stays in Africa, one of which was outside the small town of Maltahohe. Though the South Africans (who primarily spoke a dialect of Dutch called Afrikans) deported a great many Germans when they took control of the territory following Word War One, around 30,000 German-descendants still live in the country and this farm was a German-speaking farm, though sadly in the throes of drought and climate change with animals dying almost daily. Our stay did include daily trips out to check the watering holes and fences, which was a great way to see the landscape.
SOSSUSVLEI Namib-Naukluft National Park These are among some of the most famous dunes in the country.
SWAKOPMUND ERONGO REGION Swakopmund was founded by German colonist in 1892 as the main port for the German colony (at the time unimaginatively called Deutsch-Südwestafrika (German South West Africa). Like Luderitz, it's another cute, seaside town of colonial architecture though not as sleepy and quiet. It's also the gateway to the Skeleton Coast that extends north all the way to Angola, a desolate region of coastal deserts with many shipwrecks, one of which you can see below.
OKAHANDJA Otjozondjupa Region We had our second Namibian farm stay near the small town of Okahandja. Like the first farm, the years of drought here had taken its toll. But we were welcomed with daily trips in the truck to check the watering holes and animals. The skull below is that of a baboon, we also had to fend off near nightly baboon invasions.
GOBABIS Omaheke Region Our final stop in Namibia before crossing over into Botswana was the small town of Gobabis. We were fortunate that our hosts at the last farm had a daughter living here who gave us a tour of the town. The round building (in the 'coloured' district as mix-raced people are called in Namibia) was our guest house, which is run by an organization that raises money to educate children in the neighborhood and give them meaningful work. The two women below are Herero. Their hats represent the horns of a bull, as cattle farming is an important part of the culture. They arrived in Namibia as part of the Great Bantu Expansion in the 14th Century, warring with and taking over the lands of the more nomadic Sans and Namas people who originally lived here. Later the Germans would arrive and take the lands from the Herero. That war, known as the Herero Wars, would see the colonial German generals disobey their superiors in Germany and actively commit a genocide against the Herero, with the explicit goal of wiping out even the women and children. Many Herero would flee to neighboring, British controlled, Botswana (some even with the help of German officers disobeying their own generals) and today the Herero can be found in both countries. Finally it was time to leave Namibia, so we crossed the border into Botswana ... and into the heart of the Kalahari desert.