Our previous night’s accommodation were located just outside the Etosha pan, we left just after breakfast so we could enjoy the entire day. After providing our passports for entry, we drove about 5 minutes before we spotted a Lion in the distance, we knew then it was gonna be an awesome day.
It was any safari enthusiasts dream, they had built a platform for you to sit and watch the animals as they came by to have a drink of water zebras, Gemsbokke and Springboks were there at the time. As it was Namibia’s third year of a draught, you knew that some of the animals had come from far to have a drink. I felt so privileged to see all these animals in their natural habit, it made me think of people that had travelled from all over the world to see this.
After taking a couple of photos of us with the animals in the background, Triin pointed out that all 4 of us had opted to wear a horizontally striped shirts. It was hilarious,especially with actual Zebras in the background.
Driving again we saw many elephants, zebras and giraffes and a very old elephant even came closer to say hi. Because Etosha pan is much smaller than the Kruger National Park in South Africa it’s much easier to spot the animals and they were closer to you as well. I still have to say that the drought was super sad, whilst driving I saw this mirage in the distance and thought it was water, but it was just kilometers of dry land where the Etosha pan would usually be.
We made our way to Tsumeb to friends we had not seen for many many years, I actually reconnected with them on Facebook because I knew they lived in Namibia. We were staying with my dad’s friends’ eldest daughter Louise and it was the first time meeting her kids and husband. My dad was a bit nervous because we hadn’t seen each other for so long but Louise was so happy to see my parents. Louise’s father and my parents used to be close before he passed away many years ago, so they could connect again with all the old memories and stories.
I even remember that when Nelson Mandela was president and we won the rugby world cup in 1994 I was at their house, I remember this because people hugging each other on the street and I had never seen black and white people being so happy together.
When we arrived at the house, her husband decided to make an absolute feast, I haven’t seen so much meat being grilled in a rather long time. It reminded me of something from a show like Vikings or Game of Thrones, there was meat for days and in return Triin and I opened the wine we had brought and I was happy when they totally fell in love with an Italian wine.
After breakfast we all went for a drive to see the meteorite and even saw some warthogs. Louise took us to the place they got married as well and then we just relaxed for a while at the house having drinks and doing some laundry as well. The joys of a traveller hehe.
Another friend of mine also lived in Namibia and came over for dinner. Ziggy and I met when I used to be a pipefitter and construction worker in London before he had moved back. I was so happy to see him and catch up, he told us stories about Namibia and what it was like living there. South Africans and Namibians are very similar in many ways, I only wished that the evening had stayed pleasant with me and my dad.
Like most people I’ve done things in my past that I’m not proud of, but as a 32 year old I’m over many of them because that is not the person I am now. I’ve realised the problem is that people at home remember me as a teenager or young adult because that is when I left. So it really hurt when my father was trying to bond with one of the guys by putting me down, I was furious actually. It hurt because only a couple of days ago he was telling me how proud he was and now he was telling a complete stranger how difficult I was as a teenager. This certainly muddied the water again.
I think things can easily become over emotional because we as a family are all so different and I truly struggle with the cultural difference. I left South Africa 4 months after I finished school and lived in London ever since, so I feel more British than South African except when it comes to sport of course. I’m the traveller, the one who left, the out going one, the funny one always making people laugh and the one who doesn’t understand “how things work” in South Africa. I don’t think I want to understand because it always seems it’s one against the other due to colour, status or religion. I love going home to see my country, spend time with my friends and family, but also it has become more difficult because I have changed so much and am still changing.
After breakfast it was time to say goodbye. I was still happy that I reconnected with Louise because it meant so much to her and my parents.