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As Makai and Ryan went back to South Africa yesterday, I started my own driving-trip around the inland part of Namibia. No more shining TOYOTA Hilux for me - too expensive and too big for this shabby Japanese traveller. Instead, I've been renting a VW Polo without A/C from AVIS since yesterday.

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This Polo was about USD30.00 per day and it was actually a breaking price by Namibian standards. Even staff members at AVIS were surprised and wondered how I booked the car with this low price on the Internet. Lucky me!

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Two things I wanted to do while renting this VW Polo were;

* To visit Himba people near a town called Kamanjab
* To drive through Etosha National Park and see tons of animals there

As far as I browsed through some websites on the Internet, there wasn't any cheap accommodation in Kamanjab, but one called "Korixas Rest Camp" - NAD200.00 for a single private room - was located in Korixas, about one and a half hours by driving south on a gravel road from Kamanjab. So I decided to be based in Korixas for two nights and went to Kamanjab on a day trip today.
The photo below shows the town of Korixas.

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Once I arrived in Kamanjab, I asked a few local people about where I should go to meet Himba people. They told me to go to a lodge called "Gelbingen Lodge & Safaris", about 30km outside Kamanjab. This lodge would organise a guide for me to a Himba people's village nearby.

!!!!! Note !!!!!
In order for foreigners to visit this Himba village, it's highly recommended that you make a booking through Gelbingen Lodge & Safaris beforehand.

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I drove my Polo to the lodge and arrived there just before 3pm. And then I was greeted by local Namibian man Emanuel who was going to be my guide.
What I found funny then was that Himba people's village was actually located right next to this lodge.... Emanuel and I just walked through a little gate and there Himba people were. Very easy.

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There were no men in this village at the time of my visit and Emanuel explained to me that Himba men went to big towns for work. There were only women, women, women and a few kids, all of whom had very few clothes on....

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Their distinctive red skin directly reflected the strong sun-light and appeared to shine so brightly to my eyes.

The other peculiarity of these Himba women was their hair-style. Emanuel told me that they were actually adding up wigs. Such a funky hair-style!

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The photo below shows a Himba boy's hair style. The hair coming forward not backward is the key-point. I wouldn't say that it looked cool but very unique.

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One of their main diets is corn (or meiz) as pictured below. Emanuel let me try it, and yes it exactly tasted corn.

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My visit to these Himba people was just less than an hour, but it was very intriguing and I wish I could stay there a bit longer, perhaps, until sunset to see what kind of dinner they would have and what they would do after dark.
Oh well, the best way for me to stay longer in a village like this would be to marry to a local woman, I guess.

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Just before I left their village, I told Emanuel to ask these Himba women if they were ever interested in me. Emanuel spoke to the women and replied to me; "They all said No thank you!" Hahaha....




スポンサーサイト

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I left Korixas around 10am and arrived in Etosha National Park just after 13pm with a couple of stops on my way.

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It was NAD80.00 (about USD9.50) for a person and NAD10.00 (about USD1.25) in addition for a vehicle to enter Etosha National Park.
Very very reasonable, right? But these fees were only to enter the park.

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I normally search on the Internet for a guesthouse or a hostel to stay in at least a few days before I arrive in my next destination. However, I had no Internet connection for the past three days here in the outback of Namibia. As a result, I ended up paying NAD700.00 (almost USD85.00) for a deluxe double-bed room at a 4-star-like hotel in Okaukuejo, which is located inside the national park. There was actually a camping site here and it was only NAD200 per person (about USD24.00), but I didn't have a tent with me then. Ouch!
Even though dinner and breakfast were included, NAD700.00 was waaaaay over my budget....
The photo below shows the room I stayed in tonight. Honestly speaking, I felt a bit embarrassed when I walked into this room because it was set up as if it were for a honeymoon couple.

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I dropped my luggage in my super luxurious room and started exploring around the park with my cute VW Polo this afternoon.

Springboks and zebras could easily be spotted, but those weren't what I was looking for. I was looking for lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, elephants and rhinos. Where the hell are they??

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A couple of hours later, something suddenly came into my eyes.

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It was a herd of elephants. They showed up right in front of my car, and there was one problem.
As soon as I found them, one of the adult elephants also noticed me and he (maybe she?) kept staring at me. I had to stop my car immediately.

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My curiosity grew bigger and bigger, and I wanted to get much closer to them, but the adult elephant never moved and his eyes were definitely targeting at me. If I had ever moved any closer, he would run amok towards me for sure.
I realized that my car was a tiny cute VW Polo, I no longer had that macho TOYOTA Hilux 4x4.... No obvious risk to be taken now.

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So what happened in the end?

Curiosity killed the cat??

No, I killed my curiosity by waiting for about half an hour. I never moved and the elephants slowly stomped away from me. Huhhhh.....
This close encounter was such an African experience for me.

As I was driving back to my hotel, the sun was gradually going over the horizon. The whole land became pitch-black and turned into a no-man's land while all stars started shining like diamonds in the night sky. It was truly amazing and just gave me a big smile: "I'm in Africa now".

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The photo below shows my dinner tonight. It was an Eland steak with some creamy pepper sauce on it. I must admit that it was so tender and not as fatty as beef. Such a delicious steak and I was very sorry to Elands!

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The highlight of today wasn't actually my encounter with those elephants or the delicious Eland steak. It was actually after dinner when I sat by the famous waterhole where animals would gather at all times to drink water. This was the main reason why I paid NAD700 to stay in Okaukuejo.

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The temperature sharply dropped at night and it was very cold, dry cold.
I sat on a bench which was built behind a fence of the waterhole and I watched a few rhinos slowly coming out of nowhere and quietly drinking water or taking a bath.

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Throughout the time I was sitting by this waterhole, something was singing in the dark. It could be by birds or insects or animals or all of them. I started wondering if their song was about their families or their beautiful land or simply love?
Whatever was out there then, it was so peaceful and surreal tonight. All my senses became hyper sensitive. Yet, I was feeling extremely calm.
Our mother nature is so immense and so mighty. I'm only a microscopic part of this vast energy flow on earth.

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I got up just after 6am. It was almost the first light of the day and the sunrise was still about 20 minutes away. It was freezing outside. I hurriedly put on my jacket and trousers, and walked straight to the waterhole to see if any animals were already there.

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Surprisingly, there was only one springbok....

I was expecting a lot more animals to be having water there at dawn, but only one tiny springbok. How funny is that?!

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Desperately hoping to see some animals at dawn, I left the waterhole and drove my car to the west.

Only a few minutes after I left Okaukuejo, a family of giraffes came into my eyes. They were walking slowly through the bush and across our driveway towards a big lake.

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I had seen two giraffes from afar at Scothia Game Reserve in South Africa two months earlier. This time five giraffes showed up and they were quite close from my car. I was so thrilled to see them then!

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As the giraffe family slowly faded out of my sight, the golden sun rose above the horizon and started burning my eyes. I decided to drive back to my hotel in Okaukuejo for breakfast.

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After having a nice buffet-style breakfast back in Okaukuejo, I once again went back to the waterhole to see if there were any animals there. And the photo below shows what it was like at the waterhole then.

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It was completely different from earlier this morning. There were buffaloes, zebras, springboks and gemsboks everywhere!

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Amongst these thirsty animals, one giraffe appeared out of nowhere and I instantly became curious how that super-tall and skinny animal would drink water at the waterhole.

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Unlike other animals, this giraffe didn't walk into the waterhole, but it stopped at the shore.

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And the next second, what this giraffe did blew my mind as shown in the photo below.

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I could never guess that!
It was such a unique way of drinking and I was amazed but laughing at the same time.
Somehow it was so adorable, and Giraffe has now become one of my favourite animals.

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The photos below show all the other animals I witnessed in Etosha National Park today.

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Unfortunately, I saw no lions, no leopards, and no cheetahs.
However, I still saw tons of other animals and I was very pleased to visit Etosha in the end.




I left Etosha National Park around 13pm yesterday and drove to a town called Otjiwarongo. Acacia Camp in Otjiwarongo was where I stayed last night and it was only NAD150 per night for a very basic single private room with a shared bathroom and no breakfast.
It was such a transition from that 4-star-like hotel in Etosha National Park last night to this prison-like monotonous single room (As shown in the photo below). The latter is what this shabby vagabond normally stays in these days anyway.

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The reason why I came to this town was to visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund (hereafter CCF) located just outside Otjiwarongo.

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I was the only visitor when I walked into the CCF this morning. I would just have wandered around this conservation centre and had a glance at cheetahs, but I wanted to take a real close look at the cats. So I actually paid NAD400.00 (about USD50.00) to join an activity called "Drive" - riding a special 4x4 with a guide into a protected land where cheetahs are roaming around. My guide was native Otjiwarongon guy Steven.

Steven and I hopped on to the 4x4, and shortly after our 4x4 drove through two tight-security gates, a few cheetahs showed up as if they instantly smelled us from afar.

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Steven was very knowledgeable and it was so easy to tell how much he was adoring these cheetahs.
Each one of the cheetahs here was given a name such as Samantha, Blondi, Dusty, Sandy, Solo, Amani, etc. Amongst them, Samantha, Dusty and Amani seemed to be very used to Steven, and I was stunned to see how close Steven and these cheetahs were interacting with each other.

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Another thing that really surprised me was when these cheetahs reacted to Steven by miaowing like domesticated cats! They cracked me up and I found them so cute. They actually never roar like lions or tigers.

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The drive was just less than an hour, but I really enjoyed observing these gorgeous cats and Steven was very nice to me.
The CCF also features some exhibitions of cheetahs and other animals in historical and scientific ways. Please google "Cheetah Conservation Fund" and visit their websites for more information.
The photo below shows me with Steven.

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I was back in Swakopmund yesterday and drove to Factory Point in Cape Cross to have one last look at waves in the morning. I was also hoping to catch some waves there " if " the conditions were good then.

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I arrived there just after 9am yesterday morning. The wind was blowing cross-shore then and waves didn't look any better than my last two visits with Makai and Ryan. Set-waves looked ridable, but they clearly appeared soft and a bit mushy to me. I decided not to go surfing then, and there was actually a very convincing reason why not to.
In fact, I saw about six dead seals on the beach at Factory Point, and at least a couple of them had "suspicious bite marks" on their bodies.
No more Makai and Ryan with me. Nobody else was around except me. I just didn't want to sacrifice my skinny body to whatever was in the water.... Yes, you can call me chicken!

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It could have been the last chance for me to go surfing in Namibia yesterday, but I didn't. And today was my last day with the tiny cutie VW Polo as I had to return it tomorrow morning. I decided to drive around Cape Cross and Swakopmund areas.

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Later in the afternoon I went to the Namib-Naukluft Park and the photos below show a very rare plant called "Welwitschia" that I saw in the desert.
Strangely enough, it looks like they are dead, but they are not. They can grow up to 2 ~ 2.5m in the middle of a desert where it hardly rains throughout the year.

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In my opinion, Namibia is stunningly beautiful mostly because of its emptiness and vastness as well as the fact that there seem to be more animals than humans in this country.

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At the same time, Namibia's landscapes can be seen very ghostly and make me wonder if the earth would have looked like this thousands of years ago.

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