A Big Dress and a Little Luxury
Mariental, Namibia, 2009-11-16 12:00 by Martin and Laerke
Namibia had two more encounters in store for us. Close to Aminuis lies a big salt pan, somewhat similar to the famous Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, albeit somewhat smaller. By the edge of this pan another small community campsite have been established, this one run by a Herero women group. We only asked for directions once, and were welcomed to the campsite by Ndjembe, wearing her full dress and hat Herero style. Where the traditional dress of the Herero women stems from we are not sure, but they certainly reminds us of Victorian times – some of the women wear up to 7 underskirts, in order to get the right amount of padding – and this in up to 40 degrees Celsius!!! The hat is a special one too, with horn-like protrudings – as cattle was traditionally extremely valuable and a measurement for status in the Herero society, the hat could symbolize cattle horns; but this is just our guess.

We stayed the night and had a good walk with Ndjembe to the pan and she showed us their small museum, where they store the traditional medicines, old photos and some German war relics. Like most of Namibia, Aminuis was settled by the Nama people but became an important battle site during the German-Nama war, and as the Nama lost and was pushed south, the Herero and other ethnic groups moved in.

Our time in Namibia was almost up, but on the way south to the border, we were lucky enough to stumble upon the Lapa Lange Lodge, where we again enjoyed some luxury at camping prices. Emma Lange greeted us with an open heart, warm smiles and a buiger hug and we were soon settled on the magnificent property of the lodge. A wedding was going to be held the next day, so the staff was pretty busy organizing everything, but still we felt treated like honored guests and not the mere campers we were :) Walking around in the vast bush around the Lodge at sunset was really a pleasure as we spotted many antelopes and even some giraffes while the sun set in an orange sky. We lazed one more day away, swimming in the pool, having a look at the wedding ceremony and enjoying a great braai in yet another beautiful sunset – life is good!