Namibia – Deserts, Diamonds and Abandoned Dreams
“I closed my eyes, drew back the curtain…To see for certain, what I thought I knew…”
…so sang Joseph of the technicolour dreams. Like us, he may well have been dreaming of Namibia and the multi-hued visions we know for certain will thrill us every time we visit.
Travelling around Namibia is like turning the pages of Earth’s colourful history. Relentless erosion over many millennia has gnawed at ancient mountain chains leaving spectacular escarpments standing like sentinels above flattened plains where nomadic herds of zebra, oryx and springbok now roam.
Wherever you go you’re not far from the desert-like landscape. As the sun spills down on hot winter days (the best time to visit), it’s hard to imagine this was once a land of lakes and glaciers. But it was. The ancient San rock art in arid Twyfelfontein valley includes depictions of seabirds and marine mammals – we encounter desert elephants in the area today.
Evidence of the phenomenal metamorphosis from ice zone to desert over 100 million years throws drama and illusion across Namibia’s richly-tinted countryside. Seldom are things what they seem.
On a calm day, the landscape exudes a gentle timelessness but its unforgiving nature has tried locals, past and present; maybe none more so than the dreamers who flocked to a southern colonial outpost where diamonds were found lying in the sand in the early 1900s. A town, Kolmanskop, sprang up in the sand dunes becoming a mecca where many a miner’s dreams came true. All you’ll find there now are abandoned buildings with the ghosts of those dreams whistling and whining out stories of fortunes made and lost.
The Sossusvlei sand dunes
The Sossusvlei sand dunes, transforming from grey to purple to pink to apricot at the whim of the wind, are but a mantle for the 30 million-year-old sandstone terraces that lie beneath them
Taking another cue from Joseph: “May we return… to the beginning…?” Yes, our inaugural destination is back on the schedule next year!
So if Namibia is on your ‘still waiting’ dream list maybe it’s time to wake up and go there!