A joyous scream escaped my lips when the long awaited signpost came into sight. Forgotten was the bumpy gravelroad, the blazing sun and the endless cloud of red dust trailing behind us all day long. We had reached our destination. Finally. Busy thoughts had accompanied us like an uninvited guest. Thoughts that tend to fill up every possible inch of the mind, were now vehemently pushed aside to make space for happy ones. We were full of smiles. The unwinding could begin.
The young man at the gate appeared with a wide grin, showing immaculate white teeth and a cheeky sparkle in his eyes. He seemed to be happy too. After a cheerful greeting we were guided to the reception and took delight in another warm welcome and a refreshingly cold drink. When we had reached the campsite, we were stunned into silence. I took a glimpse at my husband and saw my own emotions reflected on his face. My heart skipped a beat. We jumped out of the Cruiser – it was time to explore !
As we strolled underneath a giant natural roof that had been formed by the branches and leaves of large acacia trees, we came across rock boulders that were laid out in such a way to serve as partitioning to create secluded sites. With our further investigation we found ablution and cooking facilities hidden between the rock formation – this was almost too good to be true. A little mountain stream kept winding its way happily down to the valley where it plunged lazily into a natural pool. We felt completely embraced by the abundance of nature’s beauty.
We started to rig up our camp, or rather our new home for the next couple of days. The kitchen fell under my supervision and soon I was cutting away strips and pieces of veggies for a healthy salad and potato dish, while Jamie was preparing the meat for our braai tonight. The smell of burning firewood caught me off guard and overwhelmed me. It always does.
“This is the smell of Africa” I thought and suddenly I felt a sad longing. I knew that my roots where dug deep into Namibian soil and yet it felt as though I had lost touch. We had been counting down the last few days in such anticipation that the urge to escape traffic noise and cold office walls had almost become unbearable. Jamie pulled me out of my somber thoughts. This was not the time to dwell on deep psychological issues. A gentle embrace, a soft kiss and an ice cold beer got me back onto my feet and soon I was chirping along with the birds.
Apart from a few typical Namibian trademarks, such as the piece of biltong that you will find in one of the side pockets of his pants, the traditional coolbox and of course the odd braai on a Sunday afternoon with sizzling mouthwatering steaks, there is one spectacle not to be missed : the rainy season! Faces turning up towards a thundering sky, the sensation of the first few raindrops on warm skin, still not ready to believe this miracle that is about to happen until it comes pouring down with one mighty force !
The awe-inspiring sight of a rainbow, the earthy smell of wet soil, the emerging seed into a beautiful flower, the quiet awakening of nature, the silent healing of nature is man’s healing complete. As we sat around the fire that night we sat there in complete harmony. Our hearts were full of love, full of joy. Nature had put her loving arms around us and had embraced our souls.
by Anita Schröder