I have acquired a Namibian souvenir in the form of a haircut or perhaps, lack of hair. That is what I get for going into an African barber – leave with a totally shaved head – most of the people here have very short hair. So now I fit in well.
We are in the Caprivi Strip – a narrow band of the country bordered by Angola, Zambia and Botswana. It has a convoluted history – at times under Italian, German and South African control. Namibia became a country merely in 1990; it was a protectorate of South Africa for a number of years. Today a number of Germans live here and are Namibian citizens.
HIV and Aids has decimated the population of this part of Namibia. We read the average lifespan of male here is 41 and female 43. As a result we do not see elderly people. We’ve seen several unusually thin people and we can only speculate that perhaps they have HIV.
Our highlight of the day this morning required a sunrise wake-up. Off we went with Qurt, a German who owns a small lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River. He introduced us to a local fisherman whose house we visited first before attempting our luck in the river. The young man’s house was like 1.5 meters by 4 meters – one of the smallest homes I’ve ever seen. For some reason he lived totally alone. His house was nothing more then a rectangle of earthen walls covered with dried river grasses forming the roof. A small path led to the river banks where crocodile hung out in the shade.
We were after Tiger Fish – a fantastic fight for about 2 minutes if you are lucky to catch one – and then they totally give up, becoming limp and lifeless in the boat after you haul one in. We were fortunate to land a 2 kilo one – its teeth visibly showing – sharp dagger like – with some of the teeth outside the mouth. They are one big mass of flavorless meat and thousands of tiny bones. Your better off smoking this fish until its bones are so cooked they can be easily eaten.
My Namibian sunset. We finish this post under the setting sun, watching it drop over the banks of the great Zambezi River the lifeblood that connects yet geographically divides these neighboring countries. Soon we will continue our journey westward, into Angola in our march towards the Atlantic Ocean.