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Published: April 6th 2012
The dramatic 85 meters high Ruacana Falls was once a great natural wonder and presenting a spectacle comparable to Victoria Falls. It was worth a side trip to see it as it was flowing for full at the moment as Angola has had quite a lot rain lately. If Namibia and Angola would put a little care around this natural wonder it would become one of the most visited places in Namibia. Ruacana Falls are really untouched and undone for tourism but some locals are going for a day picnic and enjoy the amazing and non-touristic view over falls and Angola’s landscape. We cannot complain either as we enjoyed being out the touristic area and take in every moment of this wonderful place. Well these falls are right on the border of Namibia and Angola, and you won’t notice when you’ll suddenly stand on Angola land as a white sign say “Angola”. Actually you’ll get a little confused and try to figure out how you came over to Angola without any border security, passport control, visa etc. Usually it is quite hard getting in Angola and really dangerous as there are many unexploded landmines over whole country.
we found it quite easy to hitchhike around the Northern of Namibia as it is crowded corner of this country. Just few weeks ago we read our travel bible “Lonely Planet” and put down our hope to get around Namibia without own car as no local transportation is going to the main tourists’ attractions which you have to see before you are leaving Namibia or there are dirty roads according “Lonely Planet”. Oh so wrong they had… the roads are Westernize style and it is no problem at all to get around Northern Namibia if you don’t have own transportation. We have met many backpackers who are going directly to Windhoek and giving up the dreams to see the main attractions in the North as “Lonely Planet” book doesn’t recommend budget travels to hit the road by a backpack. We are going along the stream, wanted to challenge ourselves and get know the real Namibia life. Now we would like to spread the knowledge to other backpackers that it is possible to get around without your own transportation in the Northern Namibia if you have patience, time and flexibility.
First we stayed in Outapi with the locals
for few days and it was great to have an interesting chat about the local life and come closer it. Namibia culture does seem so relaxed and open-minded, and almost everyone would fit in it. Everyone is doing what they want (of course legally) and how they want. For example, a child birth without a family commitment or marriage is a normal thing here. Some locals explained us that the young girls have to prove that they able to bring a child to this world before the wedding (if they would get marry some day). The children are giving birth to children to different partners. It doesn’t seem unusual that the girls have few boyfriends and the babies are from different man. The man has many girlfriends and children spread around Namibia. We met an old man who has 72 known children but how many unknown children he has it will be untold… and he still making new babies. We don’t know if this life style exists just in the Northern Namibia or over whole country but we haven’t met so many cultures in Africa who would be so open-minded about childbirth without marriage.
The main tourist
attraction in Outapi is the Baobab Tree. The age of this big tree is completely unknown but over the years it has seen a great deal of action. For the things that it is known for been used for include; a hiding spot for the local villagers during attacks, a prison, post office, bar, church and now a tourist attraction. Quite a lot for a single tree. It is quite nice since it is possible to climb inside and have a look around, you can see all sorts of marks on the tree during the different periods of use.
Later we stayed in Ruacana for one night as it is a calm village and the main attraction is Ruacana Falls (15 km away from the town) and random Himba tribe people are wondering the streets (you won’t miss them as they are walking almost naked and with orange/red colored bodies). As we have mentioned before so Ruacana Falls was absolutely amazing but the place around the wonder is kind of unclean, bushy and unfinished for tourism. But we haven’t regret visiting this natural wonder as there are not many places like this in the world – unexplored.
It felt that we were on our own with our friends and you could feel the nature power from the down…. You are standing on the falls and facing the powerful water flowing for full under your feet. As well a path will take you down (if it isn’t too overflowed) to experience the view from the side of these falls. The rainbow is coming over the falls and now you feel that this was worth to see. It is awesome.
Next day we were standing on a dirty road which does seem not busy at all – no cars, no people… and just few animals around. Well we were on the way to the bush, Opuwo to see the Himba tribes and this would be challenging to get but we never gave up reaching this destination. After an hour or so, a car stopped along the road and said that he is going to Opuwo but first he will stop for few hours in his home village and if we would like to join so we are more than welcome. He did seem a nice man so we agreed with his offer and here we go.
We visited his nice village and whole big his family. He showed us around which has been a great experience to get know better the local village life. After few hours we were on the road to our destination – Opuwo… and we didn’t know what kind of experience was waiting for us over there but this will be a continue story for the next blog.
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