Inspired by new perspective

When was the last time you just closed your eyes, took a deep breath and allowed your system to restart? I am not talking about the computer on your desk, I am talking inner software. Do you make time to sit outside and listen to the love song of birds and simply stare into the horizon, allowing yourself to dream?

We live such busy lives that we forget we are merely living beings who also need a second to breathe in deeply. Our days are filled with responsibilities; you have to be at the gym to stay in shape, the kids need to go to school, have lunched packed, go to extracurricular activities, the dog needs attention, the cat wants milk, your other half wants a neck rub, your boss wants even more of your time, and in-between it all you didn’t get any time to yourself.

An instant refuel to any system is getting a new perspective. Where do you get such a thing you might ask? Unfortunately this is not available in a fancy ‘’just-add-water’’ tin foil packet. It is buried beneath the soil in the South of Namibia, nestled deeply within a unique combination of colors and erosion forms.

Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon

The Fish River Canyon covers in length a total of 160km, up to 27 km wide and the inner canyon reaches a depth of 550m.

When standing at the edge, and you direct your eyes over this magnificent wonder of the world, you will instantly be filled with a rainbow of emotions. Let’s focus on the inhabitants for a moment. Just by looking at the animals you can easily learn a thing or two about keeping your feet close to the ground.

The red tip butterfly teaches us a dance of freedom but also constant transformation. It shows us not to get stuck in a cocoon, but crawl out of that comfort zone, spread our wings and dance to the song of life. They are such stammeringly beautiful creatures, each with its own unique painted pastel printed wings. One quality of a butterfly you don’t have to adopt is the fact that they taste with their feet. For us it will be a rather tasteless affair.

www.ispot.org.za

Source: www.ispot.org.za

Egyptian geese found in and around the Fish River Canyon have a whole list of lessons we can learn from. One of them is that the leader is not necessarily the oldest or a male. Lead positions are constantly shifted within the formation. This shows us that we are dependent on each other in every part of life. You cannot do everything yourself. It’s impossible.

In the Fish River Canyon, an animal that hardly ever ceases to amaze me is the Klipspringer. Their hoof structure is delicately created enabling them to literally walk on the tip of their hoof, almost ballerina like. They leap from boulder to boulder in swift, but elegant movements, to escape from predators. Even though they are only 58 cm tall, these little guys leave me in awe. On the edge of a boulder where I wouldn’t even dare to walk even if there was some kind of protective gear strapped to me, they stand proud with their chest outstretched.

Image: Ron Swilling

 Just before I decided to head back to the place I will be laying my head down for the night, I took one last look at the Canyon. I imagined myself standing exactly in the middle of it all, just like the grey heron, tracing its uniquely placed contours with my eyes. I spread my left wing and took a bow in front of this indescribable beauty. It took my breath away. I came to realize just how small I am, but also what big a part I play in the equation of life.

ron swilling

Image: Ron Swilling

Even though its magnificence is beyond words, this beauty of Africa should not be regarded as a playground. To hike and explore the Canyon, you should always be accompanied by trained guides.

Do you have a special place you visit to get a new perspective on life? Leave a comment below.

 Jessica Schoombee

Jessica Thomas is a local freelance writer. She is an eccentric young lady who has a love affair with writing. Get on board her journey of discovery.

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Why holiday shopping inspires creativity

There are a number of destinations I would gladly visit more than once a year. One of them is a place where the sky and the water blend perfectly together and where the trees sway to the jazzy notes of a breeze. Not because of its location or the fishing opportunities it boasts, but because of its unique shopping malls, the wildly entertaining nightlife and diverse cultures.

So where do you think I am?  New York?

I am in the Kavango Region.  A place so enriching and inspirational, it fills your soul with the same tingling sensation French champagne leaves on your tongue.

Kavango

Kavango – Image by Jessica Schoombee

With my spirits high and my nose rubbed with sun-cream, I set off for the day to experience the culture the Kavango has to offer.

Lilies - Image by Jessica Schoombee

Lilies – Image by Jessica Schoombee

As a girl, shopping is high on my list of need-to and have-to-do’s. I know us ladies have this great expression that we do not need to shop to have a perfect day or that we can give it up anytime. This is indeed true yes and I can easily go without swiping my 2mm plastic accessory. The day the opportunity arises though, you unconsciously gravitate towards that beautiful piece of jewelry hanging in the shop window. The road takes me to a unique shopping experience; an outdoor mall. There are no mirrors, walls or fancy computer tills, just trees, grass and rural houses. You even have the opportunity to watch live sports like soccer.

Along the main road, the B8 better known as the Golden Highway, you have different choices of craft work like pots ranging in different forms like wheelbarrows and colorful guinea fowls. A wide variety of wood carved bowls, spoons and masks, basketry and jewelry are on offer.

Crafts - Image from www.proudlyafrican.info

Crafts – Image from www.proudlyafrican.info

My day of shopping ended with the need of a bigger car after all the pots, baskets and interesting crafts I bought. Nevertheless, it was money well spent and once I arrive home I will be able to make the local nursery jealous with all the creative décor I have.

A quick shower to wash off all the sand and dust I gathered while shopping and then off to experience the culinary delights I was promised by the locals. I arrive at the restaurant all dressed and blending perfectly with my locally crafted copper-bead jewelry and very stylish head-dress.

On the menu tonight is fish caught in the river just outside Rundu that very same day. Before I can get the chance to lick my lips, a wooden basket filled with water and a cup is placed in front of me. Not really knowing what to do, I fill the cup with water to take a sip. I thought it was some kind of tradition. Well, needless to say there was laughter erupting like a spewing volcano from all across the room. The waiter quickly came to my rescue, with a slight smirk on his face; he showed me I am supposed to wash my hands.

My second embarrassment was just around the corner as I was looking for a knife and fork. The same waiter just shook his head and smiled at me, bringing both his hands to his mouth. Now, I understand why I had to wash my hands. I devoured the fish with both my hands. At first it was an odd sensation, sitting in a restaurant eating with my hands, but I quickly relaxed and enjoyed my meal. The evening was filled with laughter and stories.

I headed towards the lodge, to find a front seat to the nights live entertainment. The band had already started upon my arrival. I took my seat, sipping on a cup of warm tea as I listened to the bass chorus of the frogs, mixed with the soft solo of the river and flute like chords from the rustling trees.  The darkness carried a faint trail of perfume from the flowers and grass.

Sunset - Image by Helmut Gries

Sunset – Image by Helmut Gries

I head off to bed, and as I lay my head upon my pillow, the band still rocking it out, I realize I am inspired with creativity and cannot wait for the next day to watch the sun ignite the sky.

Jessica SchoombeeJessica Thomas is a local freelance writer. She is an eccentric young lady who has a love affair with writing. Get on board her journey of discovery.

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Namibia: Where Easter eggs can be found all year round

The celebration of Easter has different meanings to each and every one of us. We are a nation of diverse cultures, and evidently our religion and beliefs are very different.

Around the world Easter is celebrated in different ways. If you are visiting the south of France, you can indulge in a humongous omelet, a tradition dating back to the time of Napoleon. It is cooked up in the town square using a total of 4500 eggs which feeds about 1000 people.

On the Greek island Corfu; on the morning of Holy Saturday, be sure to wear a hard hat. People throw pots, pans and other earthenware out their windows, causing it to smash on the street.

A very popular tradition in some parts of the world of course is an Easter egg hunt. The whole family takes part in the big search of these rainbow colored chocolate filled delights. Once one of these carefully hidden treasures has been found, a thunderous Hooray fills the garden. I wonder if this is how pirates searching for that big pot ‘o gold feels when they eventually find it.

I have decided to go on my own Easter egg hunt around Namibia. At first I thought it was going to be a very tiring and not so interesting hunt with days of searching for Easter eggs but it seems I was wrong. They are scattered all over the country.

The first Easter egg I found was just outside my office. Not just one, but a whole bunch of them together, carefully painted in a contrast of purple-pinkish -red. They are not exactly filled with chocolate, but with an orangey fruit. This is the Cyphostemma juttae or better known as the Namibian grape.

Cyphostemma juttae  -  Image by Jessica Schoombee

Cyphostemma juttae – Image by Jessica Schoombee

My journey takes off and I decided the beautiful Spitzkoppe to be my first hunting ground. I hear there are magnificent treasures hidden beneath the peaks. On my way, I kept my eyes on any signs I might see indicating the possibilities of the next treasure. Just outside Okahandja, I couldn’t resist the temptation any more to have some coffee and had to pull over for a short break. Just as I took the first sip another Easter egg appeared; a birds nest.

Image by: Christiaan Thomas

Image by: Christiaan Thomas

It’s quite interesting to sit and watch the birds actually. The lady, I assume because of the continuous chatter, seemed a bit unhappy with her newly built home. Flying wildly up and down, back and forth and then into the nest. For just a moment, just long enough for her to take a peek, it gets quiet, before the third degree starts all over again. The poor bloke really tried his best to build a mansion, but she is not too happy with his building skills.

Spitzkoppe

Spitzkoppe

Upon my arrival at Spitzkoppe, I didn’t have to look very far for my fortune. Before I go on, let me just give you some facts on my location. The Spitzkoppe which is German for pointed dome consists of granite peaks and boulders located between Usakos and Swakopmond. The Easter eggs I found here are 700 million years old. This has indeed been a pot of gold day for me and I feel lucky about my findings.

I have been lurking around bushes all day and driving like a snail. I quickly realized I have to set up camp right here at the campsite as the sun is already setting. I traced my gaze over the escarpment to take in its beauty and evidently found my next treasure. The sky was set ablaze in a rhapsody of colors as the sun sang a lullaby to greet the day.

Spitzkoppe Sunset -  Image by Matt Prater

Spitzkoppe Sunset – Image by Matt Prater

Early morning I had to pack up early and head towards the valley of Marienfluss. I was informed there were Easter eggs scattered across the desert floor.

To my surprise, I found much more than anticipated. They are called fairy circles. Their existence is a big mystery to many, but evidence suggests they are the work of a very clever sand termite called Psammotermes allocerus.

Fairy Circles Image by: Dan Rosen

Fairy Circles Image by: Dan Rosen

My Easter egg basket is almost filled to its brim, but I am sure where I am heading to next, one of the ladies can make me a beautiful and bigger basket than the one I have. That brings me to my next and last stop; the Zambezi Region.

I have a delicacy I cannot resist each and every time I visit the Okavango and Zambezi area. Most people do not agree with my habit but I cannot help it.

The last Easter egg in my basket is …. *****drum roll*** …. The monkey orange! When you crack open the tough yellow exterior, the fruit inside looks like something out of a horror movie and this makes you cringe. I cannot describe the taste to you, and it’s not something that really rolls down everyone’s taste buds, but It’s a must try when you are in the area.

Monkey Orange

Monkey Orange

It seems nature has left me with one last egg for the basket, but I will rather pass on this one. Phew, that was really close. I almost drove through it.

Elephant Easter egg

Elephant Easter egg

Can you identify some of the Easter eggs nature has perfectly placed and laid out for you to find?

If yes, I invite you to send me a mail at pr@gondwana-collection.com

Jessica SchoombeeJessica Thomas is a local freelance writer. She is an eccentric young lady who has a love affair with writing. Get on board her journey of discovery.

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