Everywhere you look there is nothing. Then a lone Oryx crosses a dune in the distance and disappears again into the vast land of grass tufts, red dunes and fairy circles that fade gently into the sky that shines a deep blue over the orange hue of the NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia.
This is Africa as Africa should be! In this world of high rises, townships, gigantic cities and technology it is hard to believe that places like this exist at all. The world could be at war with aliens or the internet could have magically vanished, and here, alone in the desert, you wouldn’t even know.
While walking through the desert for a couple of days with the team of Tok Tokkie Trails I didn’t find it hard to imagine what it might have been like for the first inhabitants of the area, wandering the dunes with no-one and nothing else in sight, a simple biological drive to find water and food pushing them forward.
The only way to explore the area is on foot and any other method would be simply sacrilege. The small locals view you with inquisitive eyes as your heavy boots pass them – bulldozing beetles, camouflaged chameleons, long-legged tok-tokkie beetles and the friendly, and oh-so sociable weavers.
Then at night, as you climb into a warm bed under a thousand stars, you reach out to touch one, they look that close, and it shoots down into the blackness at your demand.
This is Africa, this is real Africa, and this is Africa as it should be…