Snapshots from Namibia

In News & Travels by Fran Bryson

(The formatting is odd, I know. It looks fine in the ‘draft’ mode and my bus is leaving so no time to fix it, forgive me!)

In Windhoek, there’s a huge golden building that is a memorial museum to the people of Namibia during the German and South African occupations. It is a golden cylinder surrounded by a golden rectangular frame. It is glorious and was built by the North Koreans.

To the top of the hill, where my guest house perched in Windhoek, the sound of packs of dogs rose like a demonic chorus.

As we pass Windhoek airport, on the way to the Namibia-Botswana border, warthogs and monkeys can be seen on the tinder-dry grass verge by the road and I wonder if pilots have many problems with stray monkeys or warthogs on the tarmac.

The ‘caution’ signs include, at different times pictures in their red triangles of antelopes (leaping), elephants, donkeys, buffalo and warthog,

I feel more than a twinge of excitement upon spotting a sign that declares we are on ‘Trans-Kalahari Highway’.


The San Bushmen show us the droppings of all manner of animal: warthogs (about the size of rumballs), Oryx (tennis balls) hippos (larger, softer), elephant (stringy, basketball) and porcupine (yep: tiny) to name just a few. Only the warthog and elephant are used for fires. Many are also used boiled for medicine (such as elephant).

Hippos mark their territory with dung, it can be found shoulder-height on trees – the higher the poo, the stronger the hippo – and I try not to picture how it gets there.

The San seem genuinely pleased to take us through their bush: ‘Tourists are our heart-people’ Kaoga says and I think he means it.

There is a smallish, delicately-boned bird they call the ‘Jesus bird’ because it walks on water.

My guide, was not only an expert when it came knowledge of birds but a terrific mimic of them too.