Leaving South Africa triggered a flurry of unsettling emotions in my chest.
It usually happens to me when I leave a place: I get a pang of nostalgia in the pit of my stomach. My heart rate has increased somewhat. I have a sudden want to stay, as well as the enticing appeal of the unknown ahead of me.
It’s like an internal conflict between a sentimental longing for the familiar on one side and a curious want for the new on the other. Did this happen to you as well? It’s called a bittersweet goodbye, I believe.
Following nine weeks in lovely South Africa, it was time to cross the Orange River into Namibia and see the Fish River Canyon.
That’s Safari mode?
That’s 35 days of sleeping in a tent without a bed, 35 days of tasks like cooking and cleaning, and 35 days of living in a truck locker. It would imply 35 days of someone else doing the planning and being among other people, on top of being alone. Yep, 35 whole days.
In general, I work alone and independently. I’m not a lover of touring, and I’m especially not a fan of extensive handholds. But, after doing my research, I determined that if I wanted to visit Namibia and the surrounding countries, this was the only secure choice.
I’m daring, but I’m not dumb. Traveling alone across Asia with its bus system and vast crowds is not the same as driving a car alone through a desolate, shady, waterless desert with no mechanical know-how when the ability to see another automobile drive by is thin and the phone service is non-existent.
What I liked best about my Acacia Africa land safari was that it was not an air-conditioned, luxury resort experience. This would include pitching tents, dodging scorpions, running barefoot across deserts, and watching lions from the back of a large truck as we travelled through southern and eastern Africa.
In a nutshell, it was a fantastic and unexpected journey with some amazing twenties girls and boys. I got along well with everyone and enjoyed having someone else handle the planning for a change. As you may have seen, solitary travel was wearing me down, and I needed a vacation.
Getting into Namibia
As I got my stamp leaving South Africa, crossed the border into Namibia, I realised I was saying goodbye to a place that had been more transformative for me than any other before him.
I quietly swore to return, as I do with practically every location I visit.
The terrain rapidly became desolate and bereft of trees. Yet, it is the ideal setting for me. Deserts captivate me with their peaceful solitude and seeming nothingness. Despite being unfriendly to most life, I find them to be calm and one-of-a-kind.
I enjoy the sensation of warm, dry heat on my skin. Maybe because I grew up with it and that’s my favourite sort of weather.
Fish River Canyon
The penultimate stop of the night and the first Namibian sunset occurred at Fish River Canyon, Africa’s greatest canyon. It is crossed by one of the most popular hiking trails in southern Africa.
Having said that, even though I enjoy hiking, I doubt I’d consider it. Temperatures routinely reach 48°C (118°F)! Also, during the dry season, the river frequently becomes dry in certain areas. No, thank you.
I was startled to see that individuals were actually running this, with the quickest runner clocking it at just under 7 hours for 90 kilometres. Over the desert. There is no shadow. Wow.
We sipped wine and took in our new surroundings as the sun sank. We spent the following 12 days exploring this arid region, going through forests of petrifying leafless trees and, in my case, jumping from planes.
After all, it would be a nice change.
*This article, as well as following publications related to the trip, have been produced in conjunction with Acacia Africa. You will never see a good review on this site for an activity, product, or vacation that I did not enjoy. All of my opinions are honest and my own.