Day 13: Etosha - Spitzkoppe
Spitzkoppe Travel Blog› entry 15 of 34 › view all entries
Today was the first day on the tour that wasn't wildlife orientated. We spent the night in a bushcamp underneath the Spitzkoppe, a 1728m high granite dome. The surroundings here are just magnificent. It reminded me a bit of the red centre of Australia, only with zebras.
The camp-site was as basic as they get, no pool, no showers, no running water and toilets that are no more than a hole in the ground with a toilet seat on top (boasting a stunning view of the Spitzkoppe when taking a dump). I loved it.
We went for a tour around the village of Groot Spitzkoppe. The people living in the area are mainly descendants of the bushmen who have given up their nomadic life and settled down on farms.
The little tour started at the school, where over 300 children are educated. Since the kids come from faraway farms, and travel is expensive, most of them live at the school. So even though though today was a Saturday there were still plenty of children around. Plenty of children who loved to have their picture taken, I must add, as half the tour consisted of us trying to wade through dozens of kids, who all tried to clamp to our legs asking our names and if we could have a picture taken with them. All good natured, I hasten to add. This was a whole different affair from the begging children I encountered in Asia and South America, for example.
The guide led us to a small house, which belonged to his 'aunt'.
The guide's auntie is famous for brewing bootleg beer though, and we were welcome to taste some of this 'oshikundu'. He explained us how it works. The brew was made of water and some local plants, and the warm weather makes that the mixture starts fermenting almost immediately. A good brew usually doesn't take more than a day or two to produce and tastes more like cider than beer.
The guide hadn't lied. It did taste very refreshing indeed. Not sure if I'd ever order it in a bar though. Speaking of which, the tour ended at the pub. Where else? The local community pub is likely the place where everything happens after sundown. It has a nice outside seating area and even a swimming pool. Or at least, a pool, or pond, behind which a tropical backdrop had been painted, which was so ridiculously out of place.
As a tour it wasn't perhaps the most sophisticated ever. Yes, we did learn some things about the community, but not a whole lot. But it had all been great fun and low key.
Back at the camp-site it was time for Christmas celebrations. Err, wot? Yes, Christmas. As there were no facilities available in the camp-site Riaan and Juliana had organised a little entertainment for tonight. And what better entertainment than Christmas.
We had all received the task of buying a small, anonymous gift, which were wrapped and laid down under a makeshift Christmas tree.
I had bought some bracelets from local Himba women during a stop in the afternoon. The Himba are an ethnic group that only live in Northern Namibia. The main characteristics of Himba are that they wear very little clothing, they don't wash themselves and Himba women cover themselves in a mixture or fat and dust.
It's a pity we never got to meet any Himba people in their own habitat (we only saw them selling souvenirs in some of the towns).
So Christmas it was. Riaan had promised us a very special visit from Mother's Daughter, and the four new girls had to go through the same 'introduction ritual' we had had to endure on our first day. However, the rest of the group wasn't safe from Mother's Daughter's wrath either. One by one we had to come forward to pick a present and guess what was in it. If you guessed wrong, you'd have to drink a shot. If you guessed correctly the person who had wrapped the present had to drink. As I had bought the presents, but my sister Robbel had wrapped them, she was the one who had to drink the shots when each of our presents got guessed correctly.
That night we slept under the stars. The dry air and absence of wildlife make it a perfect spot for sleeping outside, so Robbel and I found ourselves a quiet spot where we slept like little babies. And the time I wasn't sleeping I was just gazing at the blanket of stars above our heads. Wonderful.