Namibia’s dazzling natural beauty that never fails to ooze heaps of inspiration is something most visitors look forward to.

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However, it is often the connections that people form, or yearn for, that makes them want to return or simply never leave. A connection is often tied to an effortless smile or a warm hello as you swiftly move about the interesting corners of the Namushasha Heritage Centre, while exploring the rich culture of the Mashi community in eastern Zambezi.

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Here a few tips to help you make a new friend and your stay worthwhile while experiencing the unique facets of Namibia:

  1. Make eye contact

Eye contact is perceived as a sign of respect and is an easy way to make someone feel special. If trying local delicacies is up your ally, make a stop at an aunty selling vetkoek alongside the Portuguese Mini Market in Klein Windhoek or a belt maker at Oshetu Community Market. Make eye contact with Shilongo as he listens to the sentiments of your preferred belt design, since most people often feel disregarded.

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2. Don’t forget to smile

It seems simple yet easily overlooked. A warm smile is the easiest way to invite instant communication. While you journey to your Damaraland Experience you might be met by smiles from passengers on a donkey cart or an elderly gentleman making his way home on his bicycle. So smile and wave, let them know that you are glad to be visiting.

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3. Converse a little

Taking the time to talk to people makes them feel special, and can improve someone’s whole day! On your way to The Desert Grace, Solitaire is worth a pit stop to fill up your tank and to grab a bite at McGregor’s Bakery. While Hobsen assists with their famous apple pie and your cappuccino desires, take time to chat or amuse him with something you have seen along your Namibian adventure thus far.

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4. Wear your heart on your sleeve

Don’t be afraid to share the tads that make-up your rare-self with a vendor. You could have something in common with the wood carver, Matthew, at the Okahandja Mbangura Woodcarvers Craft Market as he wraps your requested item, perhaps you could unintentionally offer that creative aid for his next masterpiece. It is little things that naturally allow others to gravitate towards you.

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While you discover this spacious country there will be people that touch your heart. So embrace someone with a hug, nourish a soul with laughter, stop to assist with a tyre pressure check or offer a bottle of water to a traffic officer en route to your destination. Showing empathy never goes out of style as people always remember how you made them feel.

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Enjoy travelling through Namibia and I hope you make many meaningful connections!

What are some other ways to connect with Namibian people? If you have visited before, share your experiences of connecting with locals in the comment section below.

Author –  I’m Nela, from Windhoek Namibia but born in a small village called Omatunda in northern Namibia. I am passionate about writing, research and photography, as it helps me gain knowledge about people and my country.