We take a turnoff about halfway between Grünau and Nordoever, the border to South Africa. Five kilometers east from the main road, down a longish valley running parallel to the main road, we find a farm. The single story main house seems to be quite new. It has its own wind power for electricity, which, at least on this particular day, seems very suitable with strong winds blowing through the valley.
We knock the front door and Wanda greets us with her and Kobus’ young child in her arms. The young couple invite us to stay in one of their rooms, and we spend the afternoon chatting over a cup of coffee. They’re wonderful people, very warm. We are treated with a great dinner, too. Eating in Namibia is usually – this time no exception – preceded by everyone holding hands around the table whilst one of the house owners says grace.
Kobus and Wanda tell us that Kobus’ father, living a few kilometers further south on the main road, has hosted several cyclists there. Whilst this house was not visible from the road, and we were actually the first ones to visit, Kobus’ father’s house is visible from the main road, so it receives more passers-by. All his guests have sent him a postcard afterwards, and Kobus asks us to do the same to them: “That’s the only return we ask for!” Surely, I sent one in the autumn when I was back in Sweden – hope they received it.
Entering Namibia on May 9th, we got to see a lot of things that we hadn’t seen for a very long time – in fact not since Morocco: Phone booths, litter bins, toilet paper, and lay-bys along the roads. Supermarkets in every town.
The roads were always straight and flat. Wide and tarred. The strong wind was often against us – cold, icy and dry – similar to the in the mountains of northern Sweden. At every breath, it stung in the nose and the throat. My lips cracked by the sudden change of climate.
Northern Namibia is the most populated, whilst the southern part is desolate with up to 50 kilometers between the houses. After a while through the south of the country, the landscape gradually change towards resembling how I would imagine the moon’s to be like – gravel, stones and rocks – although with a few green, thorny bushes and a bit of dry, golden grass.
“With the bicycle all that way!? Now that makes a man!” Sony Boy, as we’d get to know him, came home and found himself having to surprise guests camping next to his house. “Wow, let’s make a fire?!!,” he continued. That was how most Namibians welcomed us. Warm, always with a campfire, and always with a smile. They were usually quite impressed by what we had done, too. Once I was even asked to sign a man’s T-shirt!
Farmers with enough space also invited us for a warm bed, clean linen, hot shower and amazing dinners, usually consisting of various game meat. And although “chicken and pork are vegetables for a true Namibian,” we did get served corn porridge a few times, too. Rooibos tea before going to bed. Eating with the farmers was usually preceded by holding each others’ hands around the table, whilst one of the house owners said grace.
Midway between the northern border to Angola and Windhoek, we were invited by Emile to his farm Ombaranga. We where taken out on hunting during three days, and served great meals. Very laid-back and down-to-earth. The essence of Namibian hospitality (070514, 070524).