Picture … soothing sounds of the Kwando River with a backdrop of a balmy sunrise pleasantly skulking in from the balcony of the Namushasha River Villa, while you appreciate your morning coffee and wait in anticipation for a private guided game drive in the Bwabwata National Park or a relaxing boat cruise.
It sounds exciting, right? Travelling is exhilarating and delighting in the thrill of Namibia’s outdoor activities is often just what one needs. But there’s more to travelling than simply fulfilling our wanderlust, as destinations we desire to discover consist of people living their everyday lives. In such a context, it is a privilege to be able to make a difference wherever we travel as we all have an innate yearning to do something greater than ourselves.
I figured you might be coming to Namibia soon and thought that these suggestions might help you to give back while you explore our breathtaking sights:
We all love to eat and quite frankly we simply need to consume food. So, perhaps make it a point to dine at a locally owned eatery or go on a quest to enjoy locally made food. Try out the local’s favourite Kapana at Oshetu Open Market, or Dolce & Kapana within close proximity to Nice Restaurant, or visit Pepata Restaurant for that local food fix. You can also try out open markets throughout Namibia for a quick snack or three. As a result, you will be having an experience of a lifetime while supporting local Namibian businesses.
It is often easier to stay at familiar places within one’s comfort zone, but it is important to experience accommodation that is true to that specific country. If you are planning a holiday in Namibia do consider staying at local accommodation establishments. This way you are supporting local businesses that essentially create employment for the local community. So, try the following: Gondwana Lodges, Ongula Village Homestead Lodge, Hotel Thule or Ghaub Nature Reserve & Farm, etc. In addition, you can have a look at The Cardboard Box Travel Shop for quirky and affordable local accommodation establishments.
I doubt anyone at home would appreciate all the wonderful stories about your time in Namibia without of course you handing them an artsy little or big souvenir. As you careen around the various destinations in our very spacious country, do take time out to stop at local markets and shops to purchase unique pieces of Namibia for your loved ones. Everyone deserves and desires a souvenir from another country and by buying local goods you will be supporting local entrepreneurs. Try the following outlets, as they sell various local items that might spark some interest: Shilongo Leather Works shop, Namibia Craft Centre, Okahandja Mbangura Woodcarvers Craft Market, Ûiba-Ôas Crystal Market and the Gondwana Lodge’s curio shops.
Share your knowledge with locals
While you eat, shop or merely relax at your lodge or hotel, do remember to pause and share your knowledge with the locals as conversations unfold. It can be something as simple as teaching someone how to say hello or thank you in your language and immediately this creates a sense of connectedness. Moreover, it becomes a unique exchange of knowledge as you too will be learning about Namibia through them.
Share your story at home
As you bid farewell to Namibia after your holiday, take along those intangible life experiences to share with those closest to you. Your experiences will encourage them to do the same when they travel to Namibia and other countries. Most vitally, these experiences will teach you about being your brother- and sister’s keeper wherever you find yourself.
There are countless creative ways you can give back while exploring Namibia, such as volunteering, environmental consciousness or embracing others faced with difficult times. So, I cannot wait to have you here and simultaneously making a difference.
Share with us in the comment section, what other ways you prefer to give back creatively while travelling?
Author – I’m Nela, from a small village called Ongha in Namibia. I am intrigued by research, writing and photography as it is an ideal way to gain knowledge about people and the world. And of course… to share it too!