I recently visited Namibia, and every day there was a day in paradise. The scenery is magnificent including the highest sand dunes in the world, bright red in colour, with the ridges forming sinuous lines. I climbed, barefoot, up the highest one. And the animals are fantastic! We spent about two hours among a herd of 12 elephants and were almost charged by three at one point. We sat next to a pride of 5 lions in an open Land Rover having drinks as the sun set and they began to think of tasty morsels such as us, only 5 to 10 metres distant, and feeling very vulnerable and exposed. I saw hundreds of zebras, oryx, springboks, giraffes, wart hogs, several rhinos.
But, sadly, there is poverty. That’s why before departing for Africa I investigated how to bring supplies to needy people. I soon discovered two great organizations, Pack for a Purpose and Wilderness Safaris, which runs the Children in the Wild (CITW) program. I mentioned that I was taking school supplies to Namibia and three friends also contributed and, when shopping at Staples for the supplies, a clerk also donated some items, at her own cost. When I arrived at Windhoek, A CITW rep picked up the materials at my hotel. Too easy!
Since returning to Canada I have approached my travel-writers’ association to make it a formal mandate to encourage, organize and facilitate such contributions, after all our members travel all the time.
Before leaving Namibia I visited several poor areas. The magnitude of poverty was depressing, and makes one wonder how this problem will ever be solved. But at least I felt I had helped a little.