My friends often worry about me and my relationship with the Namibian sun. Kacey asks: “Buddy why do you fear being in the sun?” I tell her: “I am tanned enough and melting like ice cream is no fun”. And there’s Mewawa, who says: “You’re the one person I know that always has a hat or umbrella.” What can I say? It is true, but I have my reasons.

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We are on our way to Fruit and Veg. As I walk alongside Kacey, I dig into my tote bag. “What are you looking for now?” she wants to know and I pull out the brightest pink umbrella. As if embarrassed, she walks away to the other side of the road and laughs at me. I know the procedure already, and a few minutes later I have the last laugh as she joins me under my umbrella to enjoy the shade.

Rights to Nela Shikemeni

In Namibia the leap from winter to summer is more than often a direct one. – Sorry spring, maybe another year.

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Summer is exciting: we go to the beach, braai, camp, hike, people-watch, read outside, star-gaze…the list is endless. Temperatures vary from a moderate 20 to a blistering 40 degrees Celsius.

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Here are a few things I do to protect myself from the heat. Why don’t you try them too this Namibian summer?

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What to drink:

Hydrate with lots of water and remember that a hot or tepid drink cools you down too.

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What to wear:    

Having grown up in northern Namibia, I have mastered the art of overdressing to protect my skin. A wide brimmed hat is a must-have item because it protects my neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose and scalp.

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If you are going to be outdoors for a while, wear a long sleeved shirt, long pants as well as tekkies (training shoes; any other closed shoes work too) to protect arms, legs and feet.

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If you cannot handle the long pants in the heat try shorts with knee high socks and don’t forget the sunglasses.

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Such gear helps a lot on the days you have run out of sunscreen and forgot to refill.

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Use Sunscreen:

Remember to apply sunscreen on your skin before you head outside, even while dressed in your protection gear. Dermatologists recommend a sunscreen with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15.

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The heat of the sun is usually at its most intense between 10am to 4pm and hottest at 2pm, so try to limit your time in the sun during this time. Seek refuge in the shade of trees and outdoor roofs and laze at the swimming pool under an umbrella.

Also carry a pocket-sized umbrella and a hand fan, It might not be everyone’s thing, but the hand fan helps when in areas with no air condition.

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Consider showing off your abs for a few minutes only and put that shirt back on soon. – Sunburn is totally not sexy and neither is skin cancer.

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So, during this festive season treat your skin right. Use sunscreen, re-apply when necessary and put on that protection gear.

Go out and enjoy the Namibian summer!

Rights to Nela Shikemeni

How do you protect yourself from the heat? Let us know by sharing your story 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.