page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52

False Travel Namibia 11 Etiquette savvy Interview nQ How did you fall in love with the country? I was working for Miss Universe 1992, Michelle McLain, a Namibian. When I arrived in Windhoek for the first time I went to a dinner that was hosted by the Prime Minister to launch Michelle’s children’s charity. That night, Michelle introduced me to the Italian ambassador, Piero De Masi. I ended up falling in love with both Namibia and Piero all on the same day. Piero and I married at Schwerinsburg Castle ( the ambassador’s residence in Windhoek) in 1996. nQ What was life like as an ambassador’s wife? Fascinating. One of my favorite memories is meeting the king of one of the most important tribes in Ovamboland. When we arrived at his kraal we were taken to a cattle auction – the clouds of dust, the ululating women dressed in colourful swirling skirts, the mooing of the cows, the auctioneer in his feathered hat, and the aroma of grilling meat in the air – are still distinct in my mind a dozen years later. nQ What surprised you the most when you were writing your guide? Researching ancient tribal customs is a wonderful way to understand the cultural perspectives people have today – I especially enjoyed learning more about the old hunting and fishing rituals. These customs took into account the importance of conservation of the environment long before these ideas became current in Europe or North America. nQ What would a suitable present be to a San guide? Unlike in times past, when they were entirely self- sufficient, in today’s world, the Bushman or San people in Namibia need hard currency to purchase things they are unable to find in the bush. In addition, a guide might appreciate sugar, flour or matches if you have some to share. nQ How should you greet a Himba woman when visiting her home? I have been to Himba villages many times and usually am greeted by a cheery, “ Moro!”. The one thing to remember is that one does not touch or shake hands with a Himba unless the Himba herself extends a hand first. When entering her home, it’s best to let her lead the way. Often, Himba women will make and sell baskets or jewellery for very reasonable prices. They appreciate selling these items, as the hard currency is useful to them, particularly if they have children in school. nQ What’s the most important piece of advice you would like to pass on? Namibia is so multi- cultural that tolerance is built into today’s society. I would advise however to take care about showing too much skin. In some parts of northern Namibia it is considered inappropriate and indecent to show skin between navel and knee; in other parts of the country, covering the breasts is more important. A good rule of thumb when travelling the country is to wear long pants or walking shorts and stay away from low- cut blouses or clothing that exposes the midriff. Aside from being culturally smart, you’re protecting your skin from Namibia’s strong sun. n Namibia - Culture Smart! By Sharri Whiting is published by Kuperard in October 2008 The wife of a former ambassador to Namibia has written a book to ensure visitors never inadvertently put their foot in it. Sharri Whiting lived and worked alongside her husband in Namibia for four years and often found herself in situations where etiquette was critically important. ‘ Living Museum’ in Caprivi You can lelearn to dancencence like a Mafwe at a new ‘ living museum’ on the banks of the River Kwando in the Caprivi Strip. The project aims to increase understanding of the Mafwe people while also giving them a stable source of income. Guests can learn about traditional cultures and the original way the Mafwe lived. They will be encouraged to sing and dance to the Mafwe drums and try local food. Villagers at Singalamwe, 19km north of Kongola, have jobs as guides and will provide crafts for the centre’s shop. A campsite has also been set up on neighbouring land. The Mafwe people themselves began the project with the help of Living Culture Foundation Namibia, a non- profit organisation. The foundation aims to alleviate poverty in rural areas while preserving traditional Namibian cultures. The Mafwe centre is the foundation’s second living museum in Namibia. The first is of the Ju/’ Hoansi- San and is situated in Bushmanland at Grashoek between Rundu and Grootfontein. For more information go to www. lcfn. info The founder of the Mondesa Township Tours, Charlotte Shigwedha, has won another award for her work. Charlotte was a runner up in the Virgin Holiday Responsible Tourism Awards. She started Mondesa tours in 2002 and they have been a huge hit with tourists in Swakopmund. Charlotte’s friends and family open their homes to visitors - her mother demonstrates pounding mahango for cooking; her Auntie Josephine tries to teach visitors the basic click sounds of the Nama Language and Meme Angelika talks about Herero culture. A ward for township tours LCFN

False 12 Travel Namibia Moro >> News · views · people · places · conservation · community · wildlife · culture The rains arrived late and spectacularly in Namibia this year – the heaviest that some areas have seen for half a century. At Sesriem 85mm of water fell in just 45 minutes, causing the Tsauchab River to flow for the first time in nearly a decade: it seeped into Sesriem canyon and the desert was deluged. Water sat between the dunes at Sossusvlei and within days bright yellow devilthorn flowers carpeted the sands – possibly one of the most extraordinary sights Namibia has to offer. Wilderness Safari’s Natasha Frost visited Sossusvlei a few days after the biggest downpour and found a strange creature at the edge of one of the pans. “ We saw some movement in the water. We were in the middle of one of the driest, oldest deserts on earth and certainly didn’t expect this.” Natasha had spotted a large copepod, a one- eyed prehistoric creature. Copepods are usually seen in the sea but occasionally, and inexplicably, they appear inland. “ It really is a mystery as to how they appear in ephemeral pans,” said Natasha. Further north in Little Ongava D eluge in the desert another of Wilderness Safari’s staff, Martin Benadie, reported “ exceptional” rains. “ The landscape was transformed into lush greenery and many flowers were in evidence – it was quite a sight to see fields of purple lilies,” he said. The rains also caused thousands of Mopane caterpillars, and then moths, to emerge at Little Ongava. The caterpillars are an important food source for local people, who prepare them by squeezing out the gut contents before frying them in the Mopane’s own body fat or boiling them in a little water. In Etosha, 270mm of rain fell in a little over a week. Many of the grazing animals, like zebras, found themselves knee- deep in water. Mushara Lodge’s Marc Pampe said: “ This is a fantastic time of year for photographers in Etosha, as the pans slowly turn into flawless mirrors reflecting the wildlife and blue skies.” But perhaps the heaviest rain of all was in the Caprivi Strip where, around Susuwe Island Lodge, the water reached its highest levels since 1958. Many of the older local people, including Chief Mayuni, say they were children last time the water was as high. Ten years after it was first tagged in Etosha a rare Blue Crane bird has been traced. The bird was found with 37 others in Southern Oponono – possible the largest flock of blue crane ever spotted in Namibia. The sighting brings new hope for the endangered species which was thought to have almost disappeared in the country. Traditionally the Blue Crane breeds in Etosha during the rainy season, and a survey in April 2006 counted 87 birds in and around the park. It was a few months later that a single bird was caught and a radio transmitter attached to its leg. To researchers’ dismay the signal was quickly lost. Over the last decade, during a succession of dry years, sightings of Blue Cranes have become so erratic in Etosha that researchers took to the skies in a light aircraft to see if they could track the birds down, never thinking they would find the tagged bird. I t’s hoped that this year’s heavy rains will prompt the Blue Crane to return in larger numbers to Etosha. Wildlife H ope for the Blue Crane Singing the blues Peter Steyn Curious creature: The copepod at Sossusvlei Natasatasatasha Fuller