Postcards from Namibia

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Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Dalene & Pete Heck

One of these days, we’re going to catch trouble for it.We’re going to waltz into a country in our usual naive style (having done zero research prior to the trip), and find ourselves completely out of our depth. We’ll land somewhere unsavoury and recklessly wander with little concern and regard for our own safety, budget, or any number of things that can turn an ambitious venture into a disaster.

Namibia could have been that country, considering that we were doing it entirely independently, knew few who had been before, and were attracted solely by the shiny, pretty photos seen online. We mapped out our drive just days before we began, came in budgetless, and read the country’s Lonely Planet and Wikipedia pages on our first night in the capital.

Some day, we’re going to find ourselves in a world of hurt for this (lack of) strategy or planning. But it was not to be in Namibia.

Sure, we were a little hesitant as a result of our unpreparedness, but all of our last minute fretting was rapidly dismissed. Instead of being faced with any situation even slightly concerning, I can’t tell you how many times we were overwhelmed by the joviality and hospitality of the locals we met. From joking (and sometimes dancing) staff in cafes, to impassioned guides who spoke fervently about the problem of poaching in their country, to every single gas station attendant who would enthusiastically wave us in as if we were the last vehicle to drive on earth. We felt welcomed, encouraged, and pampered from all that we met.

And well, I am sure you will agree, the landscapes lived up to the shininess and prettiness sold to us elsewhere. Over and over and again.

Namibia didn’t meet or beat our expectations because we didn’t have any. But it is one of those few countries in which we realize, weeks later as I contemplate the words for this post and we both pour over our photos, that the positive impact is still being deeply felt.


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  1. Wow! This post just brought back so many memories for me of my time in Namibia in 2012. Would love to get back there… it’s one of my favourite countries because it’s like the final frontier of untouched beauty.

    Thanks for sharing these shots!!!

    1. Agreed Melissa – we had read several things about the untouched beauty but couldn’t possibly fathom it until seeing it for ourselves. It’s a remarkable country.

  2. I can so relate to your observation about researching your photos and thinking of the words to put with them and the jarring impact that act has on my reflections about our experiences in a place. Our recent cruise to the Middle East was much the same way and as I prepare to write posts — now several weeks after the trip — I find I am unable to articulate the experiences we had which were so rich and so unexpected in so many places. Great post.

  3. Wondering how you travelled? You said independently – does that mean you had your own car or jeep? Also would love to hear about the actual costs of this trip, from flight to accommodation to food… Fascinating!

    1. Hi Shirley, yep, we had our own truck rental and drove the long distances to see everything (some people fly everywhere)! We never typically keep track of our costs so can’t get into those kind of details for you. I know that the vehicle cost us about $1,200 for 11 days and our rooms ranged from $60 to $200 a night. Food was fairly priced, but we spent a lot on gas as we drove far.

  4. Maybe you can share some of your spontaneity with me and I’ll make you a little dossier before you drop in your next destination 🙂 Fair trade?

  5. The more I travel the more I realize you don’t have to over plan. One of the best trips I’ve had in a long time was when I went to Ireland. I barely had time to do any preparation or research. It ended up being a blessing!

  6. On our first trip to Ireland, I had a list of things I would like to see and each morning, we randomly picked what to do. We didn’t try to hit everything but we let the trip just unfold as we drove. We’re doing that again in a few weeks, with an even smaller list. More discovery, less planning. I can’t wait.

  7. Just gorgeous! I’m glad your lack of planning worked out this time. I think it works out most times to not plan so much, though my instinct is always to have things mapped out, it’s never as detrimental as I imagine when I wing it.

  8. This may seen random, but did you see any bat-eared foxes while you were there? My safari guide in South Africa said they were much more common in Namibia, and I would love to see one someday in Namibia!

  9. Hi Dalene,
    Awesome photos. Thanks once again for creating more wanderlust in our hearts. The simplicity, the composition, the beauty and nature, you guys really captured it well.

    Getting on the sand dunes are a dream for us after our hosts in Kenya showed us their pictures. My favorite picture from this series is the one of the room and doors filled with sand. I can’t imagine the difficulty of being having an sort of man-made structure in such a place.

    The fact that you went “unprepared” doesn’t show in terms of what you were able to succeed in your photography and in your journey. I’d feel a bit uneasy going into certain places with little to know prep but sometimes that’s where the adventure lies.

    Keep posting more of these photoblogs. You guys have a wonderful photos and great perspective!

    Thanks again,

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