As I make my way around this wonderful world of ours people keep asking me, where’s your favourite place? My reply “I can’t tell you my favourite place but I can tell you my favourite continent is Africa”, for those of you that don’t know I have been to 5 out of the 7 continents so far. Once you have been to Africa you’ll understand that Africa isn’t actually a place it’s a feeling, it gets under your skin, it becomes a part you, you adjust to Africa she never adjust to you.
This magical continent is full of vibrancy, soul, heart and above all courage. It is no secret that she has had her troubles with corruption, cruel dictatorship, civil unrest and has been stripped of her riches. What does Africa do, she regenerates, growing back stronger through the grit and determination of those who call her home, Africa picks herself up and brushes herself off.
When you hear a song and you find yourself moving your hips to the rhythm and the beat moves through you, that’s what Africa does to you.
I’d like to share with you a story from my time in Namibia, now I know what you’re thinking, Namibia it’s just a desert right? Erm no. This magnificent nation has a wide array of landscapes, some look like the surface of the moon. This country is enormous with a tiny population of only 2.6 million and that is where the magic begins, the landscapes and wildlife flourishes Mother Nature is ever present in this land.
Namibia looks like how a child would draw a picture, bright yellow sun, clear blue sky and the sand oh yeah the sand from Namibia gets everywhere and I mean everywhere, I’m still finding sand in my backpack 7 months after visiting this wonderful land.
The mountainous shifting sands of the dunes had me flabbergasted by the contrast, the sun so bright, the sky so blue and the sand so orange, Namibia is just brightness every colour as it is meant to be. Time is none existent in Namibia just daylight and night, the heat is unforgiving but you are rewarded by its wonders.
My story starts in a campsite in the middle of Namibia, it’s 40 degrees, how do I know this I hear you ask, we’d previously pulled up at a petrol station the thermometer outside said it was 40 degrees. I was melting, I just thought it was because I hadn’t acclimatised to the heat yet, honestly I was roasting then I saw the thermometer like a beacon of hope and I thought “oh now I know why I’m feeling so hot it’s because it’s hot.” I have a thing about voicing negative thoughts, I just don’t like to I’d rather keep them to myself, moaning internally rather then externally anyway it was a relief that my internal whining was justified. We were all grateful for the pitstop at the petrol station we were like children when the ice cream van comes round, ice lollies in hand or as my Australian travellers call them icy poles.
My tastebuds and internal thermostat had had some relief from the ice lolly/icy pole, it’s the small things that makes life marvellous I can tell you.
So we pulled up to our campsite, it looked like a film set out of a Clint Eastwood western, a wide open plain with an endless horizon. We unpacked and put our campsite together, there was a sea of green tents (this is relevant for later on in the story).
The early mornings, heat, lack of sleep and little to no personal space had taken it’s toll on me so I decided to skip the bushman’s walk in the afternoon and spend it on a Clint Eastwood’s movie set with a good book, a vodka and coke and a cactus garden…….. Bliss.
I didn’t realise but two other people had also decided not to go on the bushman’s walk so they joined me as the evening came by. The three of us chatted about our lives back home and what were our reasons for being on the road.
As time gentle rolled on I got up to get another vodka and coke (I’d had a few by this point) as I turned I see a herd of zebras no more then 200 meters away from us. Wow. I stood in complete shock that these beautiful creatures choose to share their world with ours. The zebras take it in turns at the watering hole quenching their thirst, sharing with others in the herd as they know that their individual survival depends on one another.
Sitting watching these majestic creatures go about their business in their environment was a memory I hope stays with me forever. The noises they make their funny characteristics and being in their presence was just mind blowing.
As evening came the rest of the group joined us one by one so what was an intimate moment became a group moment.
Night fell and stars shine bright in Namibia as there’s little to no light pollution so shooting stars were easy to see.
During my Namibian adventure I made a friend someone who is now very dear to me, Ellie, our friendship was started when I lost my tent. As you have read I had had a few alcoholic beverages and as the night continued hanging out with the zebras and stargazing well I was rather……..tipsy.
We had an early start the following morning so I thought I’d better go to bed, I had left my phone in my tent so I had no light and Ellie, well she’s Swiss so of course she had a head torch with her, she kindly offered to walk me back to my tent.
As we made our way back to camp it suddenly occurred to me “Ellie, I don’t know where I’ve parked my tent?”
Ellie laughed (she’s far more experienced at camping then me) “Amy, you don’t park a tent you erect it.” With that I fell about laughing, Ellie quickly joined in with the hysterics and I said whilst crying “I don’t know which ones mine they’re all green!”
It is in this moment that a new friendship was born between a Yorkshire lass and a Swiss girl. It is safe to say my time in Africa would not of been the same without her although we are new friends to me Ellie feels like someone I’ve known forever. It’s like when you pull on your favourite jumper it gives you comfort, still loving you after knowing all of your lumps and bumps and bringing you warmth when you need it.
Ellie was like my favourite jumper whilst I was in Africa, comfortable, loving and accepted me regardless of my flaws.