The vast emptiness of Namibia is astounding. We have driven in landscapes where hours went by without us seeing a single human-derived shape. Gas stations are unheard of. Yesterday we were directed to a country lodge for gasoline. They directed us some 3 km down the road, and when we almost gave up hope and turned around, there in the middle of nowhere, was a car body shop and a fuel pump.
We arrived during the one lunch hour when it was closed, of course. So we drove up into the yard and asked two ladies if we could obtain fuel anyway. Yes! and many smiles, and we were directed to the body shop where we found ourselves crashing the car mechanics’ lunch break in the shade. “No problem, I come” one of them said, and ignoring our protests, interrupted his lunch to walk all the way out to the pump to give us fuel.
Had we not thought of asking someone for refueling options hours before, we would probably have emptied out our tank in the middle of the desert.
It is easy to imagine that Namibia, like many African countries, hosted many tribes that were somewhat distinct, with their own languages. The country is in many parts so inhospitable that one could only imagine pockets of space supportive of human habitation. And yet, the people here are all desert people. Somehow they feel comfortable in and environment that withstands up to +50°C heat during the day and +10°C at night, years without rainfall, and in good years 4 months of intense rain during the hot season.
It is even crazier to think that, as far as science knows, we humans originated from here. Perhaps the climate was milder, then? Or perhaps it was precisely this challenging environment that pushed the ape to adapt and evolve into humans?(Brandberg, Namibia; July 2017)