Rain in Namibia is something special. When the heavens finally open and rain falls to the earth, Namibian spirits instantly lift. When the first drops finally fall, we shift from a gloomy hot summer day’s mood to absolute ecstasy.
I will always remember holidays on our family farm, with my grandfather gazing at the dark skies and listening to the rolling thunder from his spot on the stoep
”Hier is groot reën opad” he would say and soon afterwards the first drops clattered onto the corrugated iron roof. Then the rain and the dust blended into that fresh Namibian rain smell, which excited me even more than the anticipation of hopping onto the old bakkie after the rainfall to go on a ride through a rejuvenated nature coming back to life after the first rain of the season. It was never only nature that seemed to breathe new life, but the whole family as well.
Namibia’s mostly ephemeral rivers (rivers that flow only after good rains) are a beautiful but rather dry affair. – A river finally flowing with all its might is therefore a sight to behold. Who will ever forget the first or last time they saw the Swakop River reaching the ocean? ,Or the time the Sossusvlei was full of water? Or the time Sesriem Canyon was impassable.
The rains bring Namibians out of hiding and we become more active, especially if it has rained more than usual. We climb into our vehicles, meet with friends and family and take the nearest gravel road to dams and rivers to see the effects of the latest showers.
In Europe when it is cool and overcast, people become depressed and hide in their homes, The sight of the slightest ray sunray gets Europeans excited and running outside. In Namibia we hide away and stay under fans and air conditioning when it is hot, but get excited and jump with joy when the clouds start building on the Namibian skies.
In Windhoek, and elsewhere in the country, rain is our conversation starter. Before we talk about politics or sport, we first ask: “Have you had rain?” or “How much rain did you get?” or “Do you think the rainy season will be late this year?”
Rain in Namibia is more than just water falling from the skies. In a harsh and arid country it is a Unifier and held in the highest regard. Our livelihoods depend on it, our economy suffers in drier years, but the most important thing is that it brings joy to the people of Namibia: We can finally be assured of a good harvest and most of our wild animals have offspring after good rains. Last, but certainly not least, we have the rain to thank for an exclusively Namibian delicacy – the Omajovas, our very own super-mushrooms sprouting from termite hills next to the roads.
This Namibian delicacy, just like our spirit, lifts out of the ground and grows to new heights after our wonderful rains. – You will only truly understand a Namibian’s love for rain, once you have experienced it yourself.
What are your favourite rain memories? Share your experiences in the comments below.