Namibia is a beautiful country. It’s landscapes seem to merely tolerate the machinations of its human inhabitants, patient with the sage knowledge that time is on its side.
Windhoek, the largest city in Namibia, owes much of its distinct European flavor to its apartheid and colonial past. It hustles and bustles well into the night with clubs pack full, even on a Tuesday night. But step away from Windhoek in any direction and you’ll immediately see what Namibia, the land, is really like.
In Spitzkoppe, about 3 hours south west of Windhoek, there is 4000 year old Bushman graffiti, but in the surrounding landscape little is left of those ancient inhabitants, nor of the Damara or colonial Germans who once laid claim to the area. Time has all but erased their footprints.
Further to the southwest of Spitzkoppe is Arandis, a town built to house uranium miners in the mid 1970s. In 1981 a state of the art hospital was constructed to service the residents and the surrounding rural communities. Sometime in 2015 the hospital was abandoned in favor of a small clinic. As with everything in Namibia if left to nature, and with a little human help, the desert has started to erase the hospital.
A bit further, toward Swakopmund, at the foot of Mount Rössing, crumbling concrete foundations thought to be the remnants of a train station are all that’s left of whatever human business occurred there.
Go further south for about 10 hours by car and you’ll find Kolimanskop, a diamond mining town that was abandoned in 1954. What’s left are half buried buildings, ghosts of what they once were and what they once represented.
These are just a few of what is a common theme, a message from an indulgent land that says that after we and our endeavors have gone silent, this land will still be here. I feel privileged to be able to witness its inexorable march and show the evidence to you.