During my 5-week vacation to Southern Africa in February and March 2017, I had the pleasure of visiting my top three favorite countries in Africa: Namibia, South Africa and Angola. I was stationed in Namibia which is basically a smaller version of South Africa. The two countries are almost one because they share the same apartheid history, same food, music etc. Namibia was once almost considered a province of South Africa. I encourage everyone to read about the reach history of Namibia and South Africa. Unfortunately, Namibia is still very depended on sister-country South Africa…..
Anyway, I took a direct 1.5 hour return flight from Namibia to Johannesburg, South Africa, via South African Airways which has about 4-5 direct flights between Namibia and South Africa every day. I missed my first flight due to South African Airways lack of communication on new policies. When I flew South African Airways in 2014 with my one year old son, I wasn’t asked to produce any documentations for my son other than his passport. South African Airline’s new policy is that anyone traveling with a child has to produced a certified copy of the child’s full birth certificate and a letter from the father saying that the child has permission to travel. If one has full custody of the child, they can produce the court full custody order instead of a letter from one of the parents. I only found this one when I was about to fly to South Africa with my four year old. I had to miss my flight and catch a later flight after I had gotten certified documents required to fly with my son. Of course, I had to pay flight rebooking fees and other related fees. So to all parents out there traveling with children and using South African Airlines, please make sure you have those documents. I wish they had asked me to upload them when I bought my ticket online or told me to have them handy when I check in. There was no such communication. I ended up having to pay for South Africa’s lack of communication on new policies. I was quite upset about this but thanks for technology, I was able to get all the required documents with in a couple of hours and I was able to fly out the next day with my son.
Nonetheless, South Africa is my second favorite country in Africa for various reasons…..Namibia is the first and Angola is the third….. I love South Africa for various reasons… One of the reasons is that it’s a sister country to my motherland, Namibia, which shared the same brutal apartheid system and government. This resulted in my being born in Exile (Angola) where my my parents under SWAPO, along with their ANC comrades fought to end apartheid in their respective countries. I also love South Africa for its rich arts and entertainment. I’m of the opinion that South Africans are the best natural and effortless singers and dancers in the world. As someone who loves music and dances from all world cultures and backgrounds, no music and dance moves have ever moved and impressed me the way South African music and dance has. South Africans are very talented. Another thing I love about South Africa is the beauty of the country and its diversity. The country is beautiful, well organized and better managed than a lot of African countries. It’s good to go to an African country where things are orderly and well organized, on the most part (Namibian and South Africa), with out trash and dirty running water in the streets, electricity and water regularly shutting off at random times, without warning (Angola).
It was indeed a pleasure to visit South Africa again in March 2017 for a week. It was my longest time in South Africa. I have visited South Africa before but it was just a quick stop and I didn’t really get to see and do as much as I wanted. This time, I got a chance to visit three major areas in South Africa. I was staying in beautiful Pretoria, the capital City of South Africa, which is a short 30 minute drive to the busy and energetic city of Johannesburg. I was able to do an interesting tour of three major areas in South Africa: Pretoria, Johannesburg and Soweto.
While in South Africa, I stayed in Pretoria for one week and had a great time, especially sine it’s only 30 minutes to an hour drive (based on traffic) to Johannesburg, the major city of South Africa. Pretoria is the beautiful, ever green, and peaceful capital City of South Africa and therefore it’s full of historic sites. I visited the magnificent Union Buildings, the heart of South Africa’s government, with a beautiful garden and a huge statue of Nelson Mandela. I also visited the Voortrekker Monument which symbolizes Afrikaaner Nationalism. I then visited Church square with prominent buildings such as OuRaadsaal, Palace of Justice and Capital Theater
Here is a video of my tour of Pretoria!
I had a great time on a tour of Johannesburg, a major town in South Africa! This city is amazing. I saw all the main tourist attractions including Sandton where the statue of Nelson Mandela is. We passed through the popular Hillbrow, Central Johannesburg, Braamfontein, Newtown. We stopped by the 269/50 stories Telkom Tower with a distinctive skyline where you can see the whole of Johannesburg. We visited the Constitution Hill which is the highest court in South Africa. I had the please to go inside the court. We also passed through the longest Southern African bridge, the Nelson Mandela Bridge. We visited the Carlton Centre also known as the Top of Africa; it’s the tallest building in Africa with 50 floors and you can experience the amazing view of the whole of Johannesburg from the 50th floor. We also visited the Apartheid Museum before visiting the infamous Soweto Township (see separate video).
Ironically, I had an experience at the Restaurant inside the Apartheid Museum which made me feel like I was still in Apartheid South Africa. My four year son and I went to get food. We purchased our food but the food took a long time to come and we were so hungry. However, the white people who came after us got their food faster. I had to keep going back to the counter to ask how long it was going to take and every time they told me that it was coming. What we ordered wasn’t supposed to take long to make. So we waited an hour until I got really upset and went back to the counter and asked for the last time why I’m still waiting for my food when the white people who came before me all got their food. I told the restaurant servers that we need to do a better job treating each other well like we do white people. The restaurant servers were all black. They assured me that “no, it’s not like that ma’am….” But it was like that. I have noticed that in Namibia too, black service providers treat white customers better than they treat black customers. However, I will give these restaurant servers some credit because they were polite when I complained and apologized in the end and prevented a bad customer service situation from escalating…. They even let me go behind the counter to charge my phone. I think our people just need to be constantly reminded that we black people need to treat each other better. We are in this struggle together.
Watch my tour video of Johannesburg!
I enjoyed the visiting the hotspots of Soweto, the infamous township in South Africa. The tour included a visit to the famous National Football Stadium (the Calabash) where the first and last matches of the 2010 World Cup were held. Visited the Diepkloof market area, Orlando West where the Nelson Mandela house and Desmond Tutu’s house is located. We also visited the shanty town and closed of the tour at Hector Pieterson Memorial about the Soweto uprising of June 16, 1976.
Watch the video below of my awesome time in Soweto!
The only thing other thing I wanted to do while in South Africa was go party in Johannesburg. I live to dance so it’s not like me to go to a country and not go dancing. I was ready to go dancing but I was in South Africa the week when foreigners were being targeted violently so I was discouraged from going out partying by loved ones in South Africa. I personally didn’t feel threatened or unsafe in South Africa but that’s a story for another time…… I had a great one week in South Africa and I can’t wait to visit again. My next stop has to be Cape Town, the beautiful seaside city in South Africa with beautiful beaches and mountains.
View all pictures from this trip here: https://www.flickr.com/gp/148965481@N05/WjxmTQ
South Africa, I love you! Thanks for the great time. Until next time….. Stay beautiful!
Greetings from Southern Africa, Namibia to be exact! I’m on a 5-week vacation, visiting three beautiful Southern African countries; Angola, South Africa and Namibia.The beauty of being a Health Promotion Management Consultant and running your own business is that you have the flexibility of being able to pick up and go on vacation whenever you want to, for as long as you need to, without seeking the “time off work” approval by anyone, and while still having the flexibility and option to do a bit of work while on travel… I suppose it’s more accurate to say that I’m on a business and pleasure vacation.
I flew here from Washington, DC Dulles Airport with Ethiopian Airlines. It was my first time flying Ethiopian Airlines since they just introduced a direct route to Namibia (with two quick stops). I enjoyed the 20 hour flight because the service was superb; great movies on my own personal TV, enough leg room, and they fed us a lot, rather too much but who’s complaining, right?!….. I would highly recommend Ethiopian Airlines… If anyone knows someone in management position at Ethiopian Airlines, please have them contact me or please share their contact info….
Moving on…. 12 hours later, we landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, got out of the plane and waited for a about two hours before continuing to our final destination. However, we couldn’t leave the airport. Apparently, it’s hard to get a visa approval to Ethiopia and just about everyone needs a visa (I believe there’s only one or two countries exempt from the visa requirements). Nonetheless, my short stay inside Addis Ababa International Airport was horrible. It has to be the worse airport I have ever been in my life (but then again I have only been in two airports in Africa; Johannesburg/South Africa and Windhoek/Namibia. From the plane, outside the building, the airport looks beautiful. I even thought it looked better than Windhoek/Namibia’s Hosea Kutako International Airport. I was quite impressed. But as soon as I set foot inside the airport, I felt like I was at a village bus stop, some where in the remote areas of Africa. It was hot, over crowded and not welcoming…. I was standing in line for the whole two hours with nowhere to sit. The bathrooms looked small, scary and nasty from outside but they were actually cleaner inside than I expected. Maybe they just got cleaned before I entered since the cleaning lady was still in there. Others have told me that the bathrooms are usually nasty. I guess I was a bit lucky that day. Anyway, that was a bit disappointing considering the fact that Ethiopian Airlines provided top notch service. The airport should match its national airline and upgrade….. Two hours later, I was happy to leave Addis Ababa airport with Ethiopian Airlines. We made a quick stop in Gaborone, Botswana to pick up more passengers before heading to our final destination, Windhoek, Namibia. We didn’t leave the plane this time but I wish we did so I can at least say that I stepped a foot in Botswana since I have never been there before…. 20 hours later after leaving the USA, I arrived in Windhoek, Namibia to the lovely sight of some of my family members….!
I’m happy to be writing this blog post from one of my favorite travel destinations in the world; the beautiful Namibia! Namibia is my 2nd home for various reasons. I wasn’t born or raised here but my parents are Namibian. So I make it a point to visit here often, for business and pleasure. It’s good to be back home, surrounded by amazing friends and family , including my 4 year old son, who’s on his second trip to Africa. He came here for the first time when he was only one and loved it. Hopefully he will grow up to be a global trotter like his mommy.
If you have no idea where Namibia is and have never heard of it, do noy despair. You’re not alone. There are a lot of people out there who have never heard of Namibia and have no idea where in the world it is. I live in one of the most international cities in the world, Washington, DC, and I can’t tell you how many times people have told me that I’m the first Namibian they have ever met. 95% of the people I meet in the USA had never met anyone from Namibia. I used to joke around that maybe I should start carrying a petition so people who meet a first Namibian could sign the petition and I will present it to the Namibian government and compensate me for the wonderful job that I’m doing as a non-paid, un-official Namibian Ambassador promoting Namibia to the world… I decided the petition was not necessary; I’m happy to be of service to my country of descent and helping to put her on the world map, in my small but big way….
The basics… Namibia is pronounced NAH-MEE-BEER, NOT NAMBIA; note that there’s an “i” after the “M.” Sorry, I know you can read and know how to put your letters together but I had to make that clear because that’s what I always hear when I say “Namibia”… People who have never heard of Namibia or been there make it a point to correct me saying…”Oh, you mean NAMBIA”…. And I’m like… “No.. It’s N-A-M-I-B-I-A…. There’s an ‘i’ after ‘m’…”… Now that we have gotten the pronunciation out of the way, here is the fun and cool stuff about Namibia that will make you fall in love with her, like many people do when they are introduced to her.
People think Namibia is a small country just cause they have never heard of her. She’s the 34th largest country in the world at 318,772 mi² / 824,292 square kilometers. she’s 12 times the size of the USA and slightly more than half the size of Alaska. In the general scope of things, the only small thing about Namibia is her population, which estimated at 2.3 million people. She’s a big, under populated country with a GDP per capita of US$6,000 which is quite high at 48% of the world average and therefore it’s considered to be a middle-income country, although there’s a big income disparity among its citizens. The life expectancy of Namibians is 63.88 years. Not too shabby…
Namibia is rich and beautiful country on the southwest part of Africa, with unspoiled, breathtaking landscape, highly protected environment, and wildlife. She’s neighbored by South Africa on the south, Angola on the north, Zambia on the northeast and Botswana on the east. The Atlantic Ocean is on the west. Namibia is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. She produces large quantities of lead, zinc, tin, silver, and tungsten. She’s the world’s fifth largest producer of uranium, is the fourth largest exporter of non-fuel minerals in Africa. She’s also rich in alluvial diamond deposits, a primary source for gem quality diamonds. Namibia has a rich culture from its 13 diverse ethnic groups; The San People (formerly known as the bush people who make up 3% of the population), Owambo (50%), Whites (6%), Damara (7%), Herero (7%), Baster (2%), Nama (5%), Kavango (9%), Colored (this does not mean black people like in America; it basically means mixed-race , 5.5%), Tswanas (0.5%), Himba (0.5%), Caprivian (4%), Topnaars (0.5%).
Politically, Namibia is a peaceful country with a stable democratic government. It used to be a German colony and then after World War 1 when German lost everything, Namibia was handed to the British who didn’t want to deal with her on that level so she was handed apartheid South Africa, who ruled Namibia under the same apartheid regime that was in Namibia. Namibia and South Africa basically shared the same government and was an un-official province of South Africa from 1918 until the apartheid war ended in 1989. Namibia became independent from South Africa on March 21st, 1990. I’m proud to say that my parents were one of the brave freedom fighters who fled apartheid Namibia to pick up arms and fought to liberate Namibia. Namibia is coined “Land of the Brave” because of brave men and women like my parents who laid their lives down for the freedom that Namibians enjoy today.
Compared to many African countries, Namibia is quite industrialized, with good infrastructure. She is one of Africa’s success stories and is considered to be one of four LEAST corrupt country in Namibia. Most people who visit Namibia often marvel at her beauty, cleanliness, and level of development; citing that they felt like they were in a European country. So tourism wise, Namibia is a paradise and heaven on earth. I always tell people that there’s nothing in the USA that I can’t get in Namibia. The only difference is that life is slower in Namibia, there’s no sense of urgency, customer service sucks (my biggest Namibia pet-peeve; hopefully it has improved since I was last there 3 years ago), the air is fresher, the food it better, even coke/coca-cola tastes 100% better and more authentic (Lord help me, I’m on a coke diet but hopefully I won’t give in…)… Anyway, there’s no better way to introduce you to Namibia than through this amazing video. Check it out:
Week 1 – Hello Namibia! I’m back!!!
I spent the first week in Namibia catching up with family. We threw a party party for “sweet mother”, went out partying with some of my cousins, went on a tour of Windhoek, provided some global health fitness travel services, relaxed and enjoyed time with loved ones.
First order of the day when you visit Africa is to get your hair done/ braided (styled) perfectly by the local people at an affordable price. Support local business… I got my hair braided by Johanna’s Beauty Salon +264816569253 (Windhoek, Namibia). Johanna has been doing hair since she was 10 years old! Video Music by: TK/Joseph Nashilundo.
And of course, I had to visit Single Quarters for some Kapana. Kapana is Namibia’s delicacy and you can’t come to Namibia and not eat Kapana (barbecue meat prepared the Namibian way)….
Global Health-Fitness Work in Namibia
I’m passionate about providing health, wellness and fitness services around the world. As a Global Health Fitness Professional with over 15 years experience in the field, I work with the The WellnessPlex Global Health Foundation, where we travel around the world providing free health education, health screenings such as blood pressure, cholesterol, body composition, glucose, and fitness/physical activities, especially in low income communities where there is a great need for such services. Our global health campaign motto is “Know Your Numbers and Move Your Body.” To support our global health campaign, please visit http://www.thewellnessplex.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com.
Windhoek is a beautiful capital city of Namibia. It is considered to be Africa’s cleanest city. See for your self (video below). My tour included a visit to shopping malls, Parliament build and garden, State House, various Hills where you can get a beautiful view of Windhoek, Christ Church, National Museum, Christ Church/Christus Kirche.
Watch my tour of Windhoek City
Beautiful Windhoek City (Independence Avenue)
During my tour of Windhoek, I had an unpleasant experience while admiring the State House. This is what went through my mind soon after the experience….
The Status update I made on my social media profile which received a lot of comments and likes in favor:“Not allowed to take pictures and videos of the State House? What the heck? There are even signs on the big wall-fence saying no photos (videos) allowed…. (Disclaimer: I got the attached image from google)…… I don’t live in Namibia so yesterday I was doing a tour of Windhoek City like a true tourist, appreciating the City. When I got to the front/the main entrance of the State House, far far away from the nearest State House building, I got out of the car about to take pictures and video and the security stopped me saying no pictures and videos allowed. I was confused, like what???…Why??? There are no such restrictions at the White House in America, and even at Buckingham Palace, which is a far bigger deal than the Namibian State House, security wise… The public/visitors can even go inside the White House…. The State House was built with Namibian tax payers money but yet Namibians cannot even take a nice and decent picture of the State House, nor are public visitations allowed? This does not sound right…. Eepangelo nali talepo nawa (in Oshiwambo which means the government should do something about this)…. Or am I missing something???”….
My favorite part of being in Namibia is that I get to experience life in Windhoek City and life in Katutura, as I have family members who live in both. Katutura is a township in Windhoek. It is Namibia’s version of Soweto in South Africa. Katutura and Soweto basically have the same history of apartheid. Just like Soweto, Katutura is where black Namibians were forced to move to by the apartheid regime during apartheid, far away from Windhoek City where the white Namibians lived. Today, Katutura has a mixture of modern houses and shacks. It’s a people’s place where there’s constant fun and liveliness. People there seem happier, livelier and freer than those who live in big houses in the city, in spite the poverty. I have family who live in Windhoek City and Katutura, however, Katutura is my favorite place to stay and hangout while in Namibia.
Watch my Katutura video here:
I also got a chance to visit Hereos Acre in Windhoek a memorial site for Namibia’s hereos who played a big role in liberating Namibia from colonialist and apartheid. I had to pay respect to the fallen heroes of Namibia. Their blood and sweat waters Namibia’s freedom that we so enjoy today. Their sacrifice for freedom is celebrated every year on the August 26 which is a national holiday.
Watch my visit to Heroes Acre here:
Week 2: Visiting South Africa!
I had an amazing time in South Africa visiting family and going around Pretoria, Soweto, Johannesburg and Sandton. I have members to cherish for a lifetime and I can’t wait to be back again soon. Be sure to read the South Africa post in my blog. Click here to read all about it.
Week 3: Back in Namibia!
When I got back from visiting family in South Africa, I got put the final touches on organizing my family reunion on my dad’s side. The reunion was a huge success. I got a chance to meet some of my family members for the first time and reconnected with the ones I already knew. I also got a chance to learn more about my beautiful large family. Family is precious and we should cherish each other at every opportunity we get.
After the family Reunion, I traveled to Owamboland (The North) where my family originates from. I’m from the Aawambo tribe and our native langue is Oshiwambo. Nearly all the Oshiwambo speakers in Namibia (50% of the population) travel to the North to visit family. You can’t visit Namibia and not travel to the North (village) to visit family in the village. The trip to the North is always a fun and therapeutic with because of the beautiful Namibian scenery, great company, yummy food and entertaining music.
Video of my road trip to the North:
The northern part of Namibia has towns and villages. The villages are traditional homes and every Oshiwambo family has a traditional home that they go to on a regular basis to retreat, relax, visit family and to celebrate special family events such as weddings. The towns are modern with brick buildings, indoor running water and electricity. The villages on are a different story; visiting a village is almost like going back in time to he 1800s of before that. I get to stay at both modernized and traditional villages on both sides of my family. I chose to show the traditional one cos it’s different. Let’s be proud of where we came from, how far we have come and appreciate it all.
The village homes are called homesteads and they are surrounded by a fence. Some fences are made of tree logs, wire barbs and bricks. Some villages have brick houses but most of them have huts where people sleep and they don’t have indoor running water/taps and electricity. So villagers have to fetch water from a community tap, the river or the well. Life is very simple in the villages. Most of the stead has a kraal for goats, cows and other domestic animals. The food in the village is organic as families grow and prepare their own food.
Unfortunately, most villages don’t have indoor plumbing so one has to go and do their business in the bush (toilet) and take a bath in the tree-log bathroom as shown below.
I had a great time in the North. I believe this is the most fun I have ever had visiting the village and I will cherish these memories.
Watch my village video below:
Week 4: Visit to Angola
After my time in the village, I decided to cross the border into Angola and visit the country where I was born. Angola borders Namibia so it was a lot easier and faster for for me to go Angola while in the north via Oshikango/Santa Clara Border. I had a great time in Angola. It was my first time back since I left back in June 1989 after the apartheid war ended. Read more about my trip to Angola here:
Week 5: Farewell….
Oh my way back from the North/Owamboland going back to Namibia to relax and get ready to travel back to the USA, I made a quick pass through Etosha National Park to see the wild life. It was my first time there and wish I had dedicated more time to spend at the park. I only spend an hour there and didn’t get to see all the animals. To see as many animals, you need to go in the morning or early afternoon and spend a whole day there as they close at sunset. It’s preferable the that spend the night there so you can take all the time in the world to enjoy this magnificent Safari.
Here is my video of Etosha National Park
HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE IN NAMIBIA
I mentioned this at the beginning of this blog hoping that it wouldn’t be as bad this time and that there will be noticeable improvement but unfortunately, customer service remains HORRIBLE in Namibia, especially when the customer is black. A day before my depature, a store rep started a fight with me and my sister just because we asked her to assist us in the store…. Watch what transpired at #Safariland in Windhoek …… Namibian companies, please train/re-train your workers on how to deliver exceptional customer service…. Kudos to those who make customer service a priority.
Nonetheless…. As you can tell! I had the most amazing 5-week vacation in Southern Africa. Time went by too fast. Usually, I’m ready to get back home to the USA after the 3rd week as by that time, I have seen and done all that I needed to do during my visit. This time it was different. I believe it’s because I was traveling a lot inside and outside Namibia that I didn’t get to do everything I wanted. I didn’t visit Swakopmund, although I have been to Swakopmund before. Swakopmund is a coastal town of Namibia with the beach and the desert. It’s always a great place to visit. Here is a Swakopmund blast from the past:
Furthermore, I didn’t get to do a full tour of Namibia and I didn’t get to spend as much time with most of my friends as most of my time was dedicated to spending it with family. But, there’s always a next time…. I thank God for traveling mercies and the wonderful time that I had and the people who made it special. Thank you!
View all the Pictures here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskScbKnn