Day 13: Etosha - Spitzkoppe

Spitzkoppe Travel Blog

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Setting up camp at Spitzkoppe

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.

Spitzkoppe community school
Groot Spitzkoppe serves as the community centre for these people who live up to hundreds of kilometres away.
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'.

hanging out with the kids at Spitzkoppe
The house wasn't more than a shack, and it felt a bit weird walking in with the eight of us, cameras snapping away. The guide kept assuring us it was ok though, “please come in, you want to take a picture of my auntie?” Said auntie was what you call a big mama, who was lying in bed in a separate room. It made me a bit uncomfortable. I do like meeting locals while travelling, but this resembled a visit to the zoo rather than a chance encounter.
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.
local kids at Spitzkoppe
The prospect of drinking something created with unpurified water, which had been left to stand in temperatures of over 30 degrees for several days didn't really appeal to me. Especially not as we were sharing the same cup (err, plastic bottle cut in half) between the ten of us, but hey, when in Spitzkoppe, do as the  locals do, right? And besides, what kind of dodgy germs or diseases could there possibly be here in rural Africa? *glp*

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.

Himba woman

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.

Robbel and me singing Christmas carols at our tree
Even compared to the pygmy bushmen of the Kalahari they have a very alternative way of life.
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.

sleeping under the stars
Somehow I got spared the ordeal. Didn't mind though. That stuff is vile!

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.

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Setting up camp at Spitzkoppe
Setting up camp at Spitzkoppe
Spitzkoppe community school
Spitzkoppe community school
hanging out with the kids at Spitz…
hanging out with the kids at Spit…
local kids at Spitzkoppe
local kids at Spitzkoppe
Himba woman
Himba woman
Robbel and me singing Christmas ca…
Robbel and me singing Christmas c…
sleeping under the stars
sleeping under the stars
Driving through Namibia
Driving through Namibia
Himba people
Himba people
Rudy in fierce negotiation with th…
Rudy in fierce negotiation with t…
Himba woman
Himba woman
Himba woman
Himba woman
Himba woman
Himba woman
Arriving at Spitzkoppe
Arriving at Spitzkoppe
Spitzkoppe
Spitzkoppe
The Spitzkoppe
The Spitzkoppe
Spitzekoppe area
Spitzekoppe area
Spitzekoppe area
Spitzekoppe area
Spitzkoppe
Spitzkoppe
some wildlife at Spitzkoppe
some wildlife at Spitzkoppe
Toilets at Spitzkoppe
Toilets at Spitzkoppe
Toilets at Spitzkoppe
Toilets at Spitzkoppe
Spitzkoppe community school
Spitzkoppe community school
hanging out with the kids at Spitz…
hanging out with the kids at Spit…
local kid at Spitzkoppe
local kid at Spitzkoppe
local kids at Spitzkoppe
local kids at Spitzkoppe
local kid at Spitzkoppe
local kid at Spitzkoppe
local kid at Spitzkoppe
local kid at Spitzkoppe
hanging out with the kids at Spitz…
hanging out with the kids at Spit…
visting one of the local homes in …
visting one of the local homes in…
Spitzkoppe Community pub
Spitzkoppe Community pub
Spitzkoppe Community pub
Spitzkoppe Community pub
Can someone explain me the need fo…
Can someone explain me the need f…
Spitzkoppe Community pub
Spitzkoppe Community pub
well, the building aint much, but…
well, the building ain't much, bu…
What does it say?
What does it say?
can you read what it says?
can you read what it says?
Sunset at Spitzkoppe
Sunset at Spitzkoppe
Sunset at Spitzkoppe
Sunset at Spitzkoppe
Our Christmas tree after sunset
Our Christmas tree after sunset
The four girls going through the M…
The four girls going through the …
Robbel just loves Mothers Daughter
Robbel just loves Mother's Daughter
Robbel downing her fourth Mothers…
Robbel downing her fourth Mother'…
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
sunrise at Spitzkoppe
Spitzkoppe from the distance
Spitzkoppe from the distance
Sunrise at Spitzkoppe
Sunrise at Spitzkoppe
Spitzkoppe
photo by: WorldXplorer