We left Etosha this morning on our way south deeper into Namibia. Cheetahs are persecuted by many farmers outside of the wildlife reserves in Namibia and some people have set up mini reserves for them on private land. We visited one of these places on our way to Gelbingen. Amazing cats – they sound just like domestic cats – purring and mewing.
The ecology is changing towards a drier more desert like environment as we move further south. Our evening was spent in a small lodge that is also a working farm near Gelbingen. The lodge is located in the area where the Himba tribe live and we visited their village. The Himba are a semi nomadic pastoralist people who have so far resisted any integration into western society. The men are away for long periods of time with the cattle while the women maintain the village. The women are beautiful. They treat their hair with animal fat mixed with ochre pigment and spread a similar ointment on their skin turning themselves a dark red colour. Water never touches their skin and their skin is smooth and unlined no matter what the age. The feel in the village was relaxed – smiles everywhere. The resistance to western society values seems to result in happy, well adjusted human beings in Africa. The steps from traditional to so called modern society is when things get messy.
The lodge flower garden is classic xeriscaping at its best. Flowers, cacti and iron work filled the front areas while in the back raised beds covered with shade cloth grow vegetables for the kitchen. The raised bed soil was built using animal manure and compost, as the native soil is sand and unable to support a traditional garden.. Our rooms were small stone cabins. The stones held the heat of the day and radiated it slowly into the rooms overnight. A good system for chilly desert nights. Water was solar heated. After a night watching the full moon light up the landscape and listening to hyenas, kangas (guinea fowl), and cicadas we were greeted by the owner’s cats and dogs in the early morning and soon were on our way still further south towards Khorixas and the UNESCO world heritage San Bushman site at Twylefontein.