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Travel Pictures - NAMIBIA - 1999

All images Ron Miller

       Traveling from South Africa into Namibia, I entered a wilder version of Africa. The landscape became more arid with scattered trees and savanna that more closely resembled the landscape I usually associated with Africa. Namibia's culture is unique in the region because Germans were the major European group to settle in the country. I entered Namibia from the south and visited the capital city of Windhoek and Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast before traveling north to Rundu and east across the Caprivi Strip to Zimbabwe.

Perhaps Africa's most pleasant and tranquil capital city - and with a strong German influence -
Windhoek, Namibia
I traveled throughout southern Africa on the so-called "black taxis" that cater exclusively to black Africans. The mini vans, typically designed for 11
passengers, are stuffed with 15-20 folks and luggage. The overloaded vehicles then speed down the roads revealing the usual indifference to danger
that prevails in the Third World. The drivers typically wait idly for passengers at established locations and depart only when full, and the drivers'
concept of full is about three or four persons more than what is comfortable or safe. The overloaded minivans drive far too fast, as though the
passengers' lives have no value, which is really ironic when considering that "life" is just about the only possession the impoverished passengers have.
It never ceases to amaze me how the drivers will lounge around at the taxi stand as if time has no meaning but, as soon as they get on the road,
every second seems to be a matter of life or death.  When traveling on a black taxi, every minute truly is a matter of life or death -
township near Windhoek, Namibia
Although it might seem odd to have a desert lapped by the waters of an ocean, this phenomenon occurs in many locations around the world -
near Swakopmund, Namibia
These colorful dunes are a great venue for the adventure sport of cardboard sledding and "snow" boarding -
near Swakopmund, Namibia
In the distance is the coastal city of Swakopmund - one of the world's strangest locations -
a German town surrounded by sand dunes on the African coast. -
Swakopmund, Namibia
This beautiful home, perhaps influenced by both Africa and Germany, sits on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean -
Swakopmund, Namibia

My wonderful Namibian host, Filemon, who introduced me to the generosity of many Africans. I met Filemon on the bus
to Rundu where he invited me to stay at his home. However, I was hesitant initially because many Africans in the region
live in very primitive stick huts with dirt floors. Nevertheless, I prepared for an adventure but was quite relieved
when we arrived at his row house that was comfortable even by western standards -
Rundu, Namibia

These young Botswanan men gave me a ride across the deserts of Namibia. Although they were exceptional hosts,
they were connoisseurs of one of America's most shameful exports - rap "music." Being an American, they asked
me what I thought of rap at which time I prepared an answer that was predicated on a strong desire to avoid being
abandoned in the middle of the  desert! Seriously, the Botswanans were great hosts in spite of the "grating" music -
Windhoek, Namibia
Here is another form of long-distance, African transport that, by comparison, makes the black taxis look like an
archetype for safety. This was the only mode of transport available in the Caprivi Strip where a portion of the
journey is through a national park with wild animals that include rhinoceros, elephants, leopards, and lions! -
near Rundu, Namibia

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All images Ron Miller
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