The dust is a part of us now. We have literally become the dust the guy sings about in that ‘Dust in the wind’ song. It layers on to you and your belongings throughout the day so I have given up on showering. No point. I know I am just going to get dusty again. I love it though. It feels as if with each dust off of clothes, or anything else for that matter, I breathe Africa in. Our food is seasoned with dust and I don’t mind it one bit because with each bite I find nourishment, the dry dust stilling a hunger – a hunger to be a part of my continent. African grime and dust from changing flat tires and setting up camp every night give character to my hands while the dry desert winds make my hair go disheveled, just the way I like it.
Africa does that to you, it makes you go wild.
I have exchanged my Chanel Allure au de toilet for the smell of Namibian hardwood fire scent on my clothes, and I much prefer the smell of the latter. As I watch the flames of the evening fire lick the dark African sky, I hear a hyena laugh in the distance. No fence here, just acacia trees providing lots of hiding places for predators. I feel like a predator when I chew on a piece of Springbok biltong. The full moon that is slowly rising up behind me makes my shadow grow taller. I am human and I am strong. But then I look up and the billions of stars make feel small, really small – almost invisible. I am just a fragment of a fragment of a tiny speck of dust making my way around the sun. I realize this is why the hyena is laughing. He is laughing at me for being such a fool. Fooled by my own shadow. In its sinister laugh I can hear the message. “ All is not always what it seems”.
Africa does that to you. It brings you back to Earth.
Here in Namibia I see things in eyes of all kinds that I cannot explain. I see my own reflection in a small Himba child’s dark eyes, holding my camera, capturing a moment. What does he see when he looks at me? I see the golden morning light in the eyes of a black main Kalahari lion and even though it is so incredibly beautiful, I cannot look for long. It is too powerful. I see my fear in its eyes, and it scares me. I get lost in a matriarch elephant’s cautious stare, her big and wise sand colored eye observing my every move. It is a beautiful moment shared between the eyes of two very different sizes of specks of dust. The elephant and me locked in a gaze, her giant presence absolutely still, my tiny human heart beating like an African drum in my chest.
Africa can do that to you, it makes you respect.
I find myself in a dilemma every time I go on long African road trips like this. With each kilometer that I travel on her dirt roads I shed the worldly things off of me. I want less and less of what makes the world go round, and more and more of what gives the dark African nights its mystery. I want to live like a nomadic Himba man. Like the Wildebeest migrating towards water, I want to continually criss – cross the continent. I want to hear the nothingness in the night, every night, and I want to smell the fresh rain like it can only smell in Africa. Forever. Although I have not been everywhere, I have been to many ‘wheres’ and when I am in Africa I want to be nowhere else. The freedom, the beauty and the solitude. The people, the wildlife and the sun. These are the things that I love the most. My dilemma is that at some point we have to go back to ‘reality’. At some point the empty spaces become overcrowded places, and city light and other noise replace the starlight. For this reason I am continuously savoring moments. I live in them like each is the last, and try to remember them like each was the best.
Africa does that to you, it makes you appreciate.
We are just dust. We are little specks on something bigger that in turn is smaller than whatever you would like to classify space as. Most people are just holding on, trying not to be blown away by the winds of change, happy to be in one place alone. I like being a dusty speck that is unlike the ones sitting on top of a cupboard, forgotten and never disturbed. I want to be blown from here to there in no specific pattern, taken from one extreme to another. On our last day of our eight thousand kilometer trip, on top of the tallest sand dune in the Namib Desert, I get completely naked and I spread my arms and pretend I am bird. The wind lifts me up and gives wings to my thoughts and dreams. Don’t think of me as crazy.
Africa can do that to you; it makes you feel free.
Lilac Breasted Roller
A pretty close call. Even though this Gemsbok got away we did find a pride of Cheeta further down the same road with a Gemsbok kill.
Elephant tracks in the dry Etosha Pan
This lone Rhino and his reflection had me in tears. In as little as ten years all we will see are the reflections of these magnificent creatures.
Moonrise through the African bush
Deadvlei at Sousousvlei
The Himba culture
Male lion, Etosha National Park