A walk through time

Namibia is a land of extreme contrasts. Between the famed Kalahari and the Caprivi Strip lies a vast expanse of harsh desert landscape, bordered by the nation’s western Atlantic coast spanning the entire length of the country. The sparse and legendary Skeleton Coast marks the northwest boundary before transitioning to Angola.

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Skeleton Coast Beachscape

I have been very fortunate to travel most of the length and breadth of this African nation in the company of some of its most knowledgeable citizens over the course of thirty-three years. The interesting seaports of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, and Henties Bay offer shipping, fishing, and escape from the hot summer months, while the interior regions swelter with temperatures of over 138 degrees Fahrenheit. The sea breezes cool the shore with temps far more bearable. The vast dunes of the south offer a playground for off-road enthusiasts and wilderness campers. This country called Namibia is a great location for the adventures of your choosing

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Lonely dunes

My favorite places admittedly lie in the vast central highlands occupied by Erindi Private Game Reserve and that pencil thin strip of northeastern land known as the Caprivi. Between these two extremes you can literally walk through time. To a place that once was and one that will never be again.

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Bulldozer dam nearly dry. Everything  Erindi in the background

Political conflict over water in the Caprivi will sooner or later come to head, with China and Angola stealing this life giving resource from Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. Rumor has it the Chinese pushed up a three meter high make shift diversion dam near the last bridge crossing between Angola and Zambia diverting ninety percent the Kwando River’s flow into Zambian farmlands. All this was done without legal permissions. It has left the mighty Kwando River complex, Linyanti, and finally Chobe river all but a dry watercourse. The river names change with their geographic downstream location, but they are all the same river. Botswana tourist lodges lie far from the rivers edge, and what water is present is insufficient to meet the needs of both the human population and the wildlife that define this unique area.

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The Kwando River is now a small stream

This years rainfall, when and if it arrives, may provide Mother Nature with the power to undo what man (think Chinese) have done. There is little outcry from the affected nation states except at the local tribal/communal level. It is a sad fate that awaits this globally unique region.

The crown jewel of all Namibian tourism, Erindi Private Game Reserve http://www.erindi.com, is not exempt from the severe drought affecting Namibia as a whole. Across the two hundred sixty-eight square mile reserve water holes are down eighty percent or more, and some have disappeared altogether. If you enlisted an entire squad of rugby players for one eight hour day, I doubt they could gather enough grass to fill one plastic shopping bag.

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An Erindi kopje, note the lack of grass in foreground
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This is a lion scratching post tree. Note lack of grass in background!

Erindi held as it is, in private ownership, can and does feed huge quantities of peanut hay and lucerne (alfalfa) to sustain the vast herds of African wildlife for which it is world famous. The fauna here, from elephants to dik-dik, all patiently await the coming rainy season and Mother Nature’s long awaited promise of renewal.

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A blackthorn tree blooms in spring

Long time residents confirm that they have never seen the land so ravaged and dry. Severe droughts in three of the last four years have taken their toll. Some will say it is all a part of “Climate Change.” I ask you in the eons of Earth’s history, long before the coming of man, when did the climate NOT change? Political histrionics aside, man did NOT cause a change in Mother Nature. It is just a reflection of patterns as old as the rock we live upon as it journeys around our sun. If we know anything about the weather, it is just wait a bit and it will change… hopefully for the better.

Visit Namibia NOW and enjoy all that this great land provides!

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