Saturday, January 10, 2009
Over the Christmas break we ventured toward and into Namibia. Namibia is a relatively new country that used to be part of South Africa and gained its independence in 1990. It has a very large German influence, in fact, there were times (especially in Swakopmund) that I thought I was in Germany. Most everyone, including the Africans, spoke German and English. The country itself was a lot like Arizona. Dry and arid, about 90 degrees and cooler at night. The landscape was desert sand and desert mountains. The cities are lined with palm trees and everything was well groomed and very clean. Windhoek, the capital, was a very nice city. Many buildings were new and there was a lot of development. We were very surprised that we saw very few people walking around and no beggars or street vendors. All of which are prevalent in Zambia. There were great shopping malls in Windhoek that could have easily been in Cherry Creek or Scottsdale. Great restaurants with cheap prices. A steak dinner with a couple of drinks and dessert would be around $15 US dollars. We quickly realized that Namibia is not characteristic of the Africa we have come to know.
We spent three days in Windhoek relishing our shopping outlets and soaking up the Western look and feel. I must admit that it felt good to actually walk around a mall. Something I do not enjoy back in the US. If we had come to Namibia instead of Zambia, it would have been a totally different experience for us. The two countries are like night and day.