Postcards from Namibia

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.

Namibia didn’t meet or beat our expectations because we didn’t have any. Yet it is one of those few countries whose positive impact is still being deeply felt weeks later.


32 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • August 11 2015

    Those dunes are unreal! Are those people way at the top of the dune in the Deadvlei shot?
    Katie @ Domestiphobia recently posted..Three’s Not A Crowd, After All.

    • August 12 2015

      Yep it is! We were up there too, and running down that steep dune was damn fun.

  • 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!!!
    Melissa @ The Mellyboo Project recently posted..9 Ways to Annoy a Travel Agent

    • August 12 2015

      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.

  • August 11 2015

    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.
    Jackie Smith recently posted..Myanmar ~ So Delightfully Different!

    • August 12 2015

      It’s so hard to do! I try to take as many notes as I can about how I feel in the moment, but sometimes they just fail you!

  • August 11 2015

    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!
    Shirley recently posted..Ring 1: Beara Peninsula’s Remarkable Scenery

    • August 12 2015

      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.

  • August 12 2015

    Amazing photos! Namibia looks unusually interesting – a photographer’s bait. 🙂
    Renuka recently posted..How Did I Learn Travel Photography?

    • August 12 2015

      Yeah, our cameras were kept pretty busy!

  • August 12 2015

    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?
    Julie recently posted..Checklist Obsession

  • August 12 2015

    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!

    • August 12 2015

      That’s what we’ve found too Murissa, but I still think that sometimes we’re going to have to really pay for it. 🙂

  • Beautiful photos! We have been wanting to visit somewhere in Africa for such a long time and your pictures are really adding fuel to that desire.
    Jenny @ Till the Money Runs Out recently posted..Flamingos Flying over the Laguna Rosada Yucatan Mexico in Photos

    • August 12 2015

      Thanks! We get that Jenny, for some reason we took our sweet time to get to Africa, but it was photos from Namibia that drew us there!

  • Jill
    August 13 2015

    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.

    • August 14 2015

      I still say it is the way to go! Ooh, especially in Ireland, so much to be discovered there. Enjoy!

  • August 14 2015

    I’m basically just sitting here and drooling as I scroll through these. Those dunes are just amazing!
    Amanda recently posted..The Most Famous Fjord in Norway

  • August 18 2015

    OMG this place is beautiful and you take excellent pictures by the way. It is like a dream
    Izy Berry recently posted..How to capture the best moments of your holiday

  • August 21 2015

    I am speechless at your photos – just stunning!

  • Ali
    August 22 2015

    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.

  • August 23 2015

    Reading through the comments, glad to read I’m not the only one who doesn’t track costs
    Natalie recently posted..Saklikent Gorge : The Hidden City of Turkey

  • August 27 2015

    This is simply amazing. Awesome Photos…

  • August 27 2015

    Great photos! Have always wanted to visit Namibia.
    Frank (bbqboy)
    Frank recently posted..Budapest: The time I was almost punched in the face at the Hummus Bar

  • Anne
    September 13 2015

    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!

    • September 13 2015

      We did not! Never even heard of them! 🙂

  • September 19 2015

    I always love your postcards. These are incredible!
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..PHOTOGRAPHY: Viejo San Juan (Part 1)

  • Mark
    September 29 2015

    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,

  • February 27 2016

    Amazing photographs! The landscape there certainly lends itself to some amazing photography.

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