Namibia, for those of you who don’t know (and I admit, until very recently I was one of you), is a country in South Western Africa. It’s a new country at that, gaining independence in 1990 (and yes, the date makes it seem like it was part of the USSR, but it was South Africa that Nambia became independent of.) Now Namibia
is a modern, albiet developing, country that pulls in huge amounts of ecotourists every year. There is all sorts of nature to see there (most of it fairly harsh). There are multiple kinds of deserts, some that have the kind of rolling dunes you see in survival movies that start with planes crashing, and some of the more rocky variety you see in survival movies that start with spaceships crashing. There are canyons, savanahs, and deserts that meets coastlines. There are also lots of big animals, the kind you want to get close enough to see but not too close. Big game hunting is actually a pretty big money maker here, and in spite of my prowess as a big game hunter with arcade games in bars, I did not shoot any animals while in Namibia.
Although English is the official language of Namibia, surprisingly few people speak it. (Mostly Afrikaans here, a kind of descendent of Dutch.) Still, getting around is fairly easy. I flew into Windhoek, the capital, a small, safe city in the middle of the country where I stayed at a hostel with what might be my favorite hostel name ever: Cardboard Box Backpackers hostel. It’s a fun city with good dining and bars, in fact Namibia dining
is surprisingly good. From there I headed East to the coastal city of Swakopmund, then South to the more fun, more sporty, coastal city of Walvis Bay (great for whale watching, hence the name).
After that I continued to travel down the desert coast until I got what I really came to Namibia to see — the Fish River Canyon. I admit, I am a sucker for canyons. The Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world, and the largest in Africa. It is also sort of mind-blowing. 160 km long, in some places 27 km wide, and 550 m deep, and at the end of it are hot springs you can hop in. I loved it, and Namibia. Add the fact that I saw a wild Zebra and a wild Elephant, and I have to consider the trip a success. Especially because I didn’t have to shoot either of them.