After attending the 2017 IFAJ Congress in South Africa, Harlen and 11 other journalists participated in the post tour to Namibia. These images spotlight scenes from a diverse, different kind of land.
Tucked Away: The Atlantic Ocean serves as the western border for Namibia, which is situated on Africa’s southwest coast. Agriculture, herding, tourism and the mining industry form the basis of this nation’s economy for 2.6 million people, the second lowest population in the world after Mongolia.
The country gained independence in 1990 after a long struggle against rule by South Africa. English and German serves as the official language. The average life expectancy is 67 years for women and 61 years for men.
Always Thirsty: Being situated between the Namib and Kalahari deserts, Namibia has the least amount of rainfall of any country in sub-Saharan Africa.
About 4,000 mostly white, commercial farmers own approximately half of Namibia’s arable land. Most of the terrain features large, desert plateaus.
Adaptable & Hardy:
The Brahman breed is the real profit driver for cattlemen who ranch in the tropics and subtropics around the world. This is due to this animal’s ability to cross well with virtually any other breed of cattle.
Mecki Schneider established the Okabra Brahman stud in 1987. The family has maintained its core history of sustainable beef production at Okamutombe since 1913.
Polished Possessions: At the junction of two main tourist routes on the south side of Okahandjo, a maze of open-air curio stalls comprise the vibrant Namibia Woodcarver’s Cooperative market. Within this space, merchants sell assorted carvings of jewelry, polished fruit bowls and even canoes.
Finding a Favorite:
This nation is utterly indifferent to the fate of travelers who come to admire it. Delicate carvings and countless other creations serve as a snapshot to a simple lifestyle.
The sights, consistent sounds and picking up the lingo enhance the culture when traversing through the Oshetu community market, located a short distance from the capital of Windhoek.
Fallen Star : In astronomical terms the Hobo meteorite is no more than a speck of cosmic dust. On a more modest human scale, the 60-ton rock neat Grootfontein is both the largest and heaviest one of earth. No one know how long it hurtled through space before landing in this remote spot.
Great White Place:
Etosha National Park was proclaimed a game park reserve in 1907. The area spans 8,600 square miles and during the year is mostly dry. However, after a heavy rain the large encrusted salt pan will acquire a thin layer of water.
Top Tourist Stop: This park is unique to Africa. The game reserve’s main characteristic is a salt pan so large it can be seen from space. Yet there is abundant wildlife that congregates around the waterholes, providing almost guaranteed sightings.
Etosha has a good infrastructure of roads and resorts that cover all areas where animals gather in large number. Charismatic species such as hyena, elephants, lions, giraffe, zebra, rhinos and migratory birds, who visit for a brief time to raise their offspring, may be seen on a daily basis.
Slow Mo: Wildlife parks and game farms dot the landscape. When a white rhino comes out of the bushes, it cast a myopic squint and lumbers down the road to a clatter of clicking cameras. You just got to admire this big boy’s swagger.
Beyond Beauty: Tiny ears, amber eyes, timid and shy, powerful and superfast amply describe the cheetah. A research and education center was established in 1990 to monitor the animal’s behavior in specific habitats and work with farmers when this species poses a threat on their land.
Close Range: Loins are often on the prowl but their favorite activity during the day is sleeping. Although not often seen, leopards are abundant on some farms in Namibia, and are also kept in captivity on game farms as an additional attraction for visitors.
A single terminate is barely bigger that the moon of a fingernail. But in groups of a million, the bugs can build mounds that can reach nearly 20 feet high and 100 feet in diameter. These structures help create a biologically diverse habitat that helps the survival of many species.
Dung beetles can bury 250 times heavier than itself in one night. They belong to three groups: rollers, tunnelers and dwellers. By burying and consuming dung, the insect improves nutrient recycling and soil structure.
Quiet Time: Evenings bring a stark distinction between long hours of road tripping and gazing at the seemingly endless horizon. During that time one can feel a connection to both the natives and various regions before stepping back on the plane and passage to your next destination.
Intriguing Journey Signing on for this post IFAJ Congress tour provided a patchwork of memories linked by hours of riding on the bus/van, traversing unknowing territory and interacting with fellow journalists.
Touching this part of the world was an amazing adventure for this Iowa farm boy.