10 reasons why everyone should visit Namibia at least once in their life

Africa, Uncategorized

Africa is a big ol’ continent and I’m incredibly lucky to have visited 5 countries within it. As much as I’ve loved each country, Namibia has always held a special place in my heart and I discover new reasons to love it every time I go. As one of the most unheard of and underrated countries, I thought I’d put a little list together to tell you why it’s worth visiting the beauty that is Namibia.

1. People

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Everyone says this about everywhere they go so I’m going to join them and tell ya that the people you meet in Namibia are just so so so lovely. As well as being kind, caring and smart; the friends I have in Namibia are also ridiculously hilarious.

2. Sunrises and sunsets

Get up early (I’m talking like 5am), find a hill or building to climb up and watch the sun rise along the horizon.

Watching the sunset is equally as stunning; the colours change each evening and you’ll feel like you’re in the real life version of The Lion King.

3. Culture

 

Namibia has an estimated population of 2.2 million people, made up of 13 ethnic groups. They are: the Herero, the Damara, the Nama, the San (Bushmen), the Rehoboth Basters, the Coloureds, the Whites, the Caprivian, the Kavango, the Topnaars, the Tswana, the Himba and the Owambo. Visit Opuwo in the north to see how the Himbas use ochre on their skin and hair.

4. Drinks

Windhoek lager and Tafel are brewed in Namibia. Savanna and Amarula are from South Africa but readily available at all times in Namibia. You’ve gotta give them a try.

5. Etosha

Etosha National Park is a game reserve in Northern Namibia and should be on every bucket list. You can expect to see lion, springbok, gemsbok, impala, hyena, giraffe, rhino (black and white), elephant and if you’re lucky; leopard and cheetah.

Instead of following radios and keepers to find the animals, you can self-drive and wait for the wildlife to come to you at a waterhole.

6. Braais

Afrikaans for BBQ, but so much better than a pathetic British attempt at grilling meat outside. Braais don’t take days/weeks of notice and hours of preparation. Just call some friends, bring drinks, meat, make a fire and enjoy.

7. Ghost towns

Vogue photoshoot worthy ghost towns (yass, really), Kolmanskop is worth a visit if you want to fill your insta with artsy pics of abandoned houses and a forgotten town.

8. The landscapes

If you enjoy wide, open spaces then this is the country for you. Namibia is huge (3 times the size of the UK) but with 62 million fewer people living in Namibia than the UK, there are a lot of open spaces. You can drive for hours on end without encountering another person.

From rocks, to bush, the desert – the changing landscape is a major appeal to tourists and photographers from all over the world.

9. Sossusvlei

Who knew a visit to the desert would be so tiring?! Sossusvlei will test your endurance and tolerance to extreme heat. In return, it will reward you with breathtaking (seriously) views, wildlife, a sense of accomplishment and pockets full of sand.

10. Swakopmund

Feel like Mad Max as you speed through the desert to reach the German town. The ideal spot for souvenir shopping, eating fresh seafood, hopping between cute little cafes and getting your adrenaline fix with quad biking and sand boarding tours.

Spot flamingos, climb Dune 7, walk along the jetty, collect shells on the beach and enjoy the cooler weather of the coast.


So there you have it, just a few reasons why I might be addicted to travelling to Namibia.

love, Mary

x

p.s. follow on insta for more wanderlust worthy pics: @girlgotlost_

 

 

I’m running 26.2 miles for ONE reason.

Africa, Europe, Sport, Uncategorized

Around a year ago I was well on my way to running 600 miles over 8(ish) weeks for VSO. I’d been running so much that a few gals suggested I may as well run a marathon. Let me stop you there. One does not simply run a marathon just cozzzz. But still, I signed up for the Isle of Man full marathon and ran the 26.2 miles on 9th August, my 21st birthday.

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look at me go, right at the front…

Not content with just the one marathon to my name, I signed up for the Lisbon marathon with my good pal (probably an over statement) Kate and we’re shimmying over to Portugal to take part on 2nd October this year. Soooo, we have less than 2 months to quit whining and get on with training for our second marathons (she ran the London Marathon in April).

Instead of raising money for a charity, I’ve decided to do things a little different and raise awareness for a cause quite close to my heart. (I say that, a lot of causes are close to my heart but stick with me here)

UK Youth Ambassadors

So, in return for me sweating my lil booty (and back, arms, legs, forehead, everywhere) off, I’d like my lovely friends and family to hear about and get involved with ONE campaign. I want to raise awareness for ONE and all the world changing, life saving work they do. See, ONE isn’t a charity. We (I’m a ONE member along with 7 million others) don’t dig wells, we scream n shout to get governments to change the law so a well has to be dug.

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I’ve been a ONE youth ambassador since March this year and their approach to ending poverty and  preventable disease is refreshing. It’s not always easy to get your local MP or media to care about your work with ONE but as a group of around 50 UK youth ambassadors we’ve managed to make a real impact resulting in meetings with MP’s, speaking in Parliament, creating university societies and visiting the OECD forum in Paris (yessss we ate all the croissants).

‘ONE’s 7 million members are critical to this work. They come from every walk of life and from across the political spectrum. They’re artists and activists, faith and business leaders, students and scientists. They take action day in, day out — organising, mobilising, educating, and advocating so that people will have the chance not just to survive, but to thrive.’

Fancy joining the 7 million people and making your voice heard?

What can you do?
First things first, get yourself onto their website – click here woo woo
Next, see what campaign we’re currently working on and choose what interests you the most and take action either by signing a letter or petiton.
Tell your local MP if they’re not doing enough about the issue and what they can change.
Write to your local newspaper about how you’ve put your name to something you truly care about.
Pass it on. Send this link to someone you know – let the movement spread
Let me know, a simple Facebook comment will let me know how many people stand with ONE just because they read this blog post.

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Why?
We’re one race. We live in the same world. Why should where you’re born determine your quality of life? I’m not asking for money, anyone can put their name forward to something they care about.

When?
Now would be fab. But any time before October 2nd would be perf.

What’s next?
I’ll be writing some more blog posts in the run up to the marathon. (Run. Get it…?!!?) with some more info on ONE’s work and what I’m personally doing as a youth ambassador. Sound iite?

OH and use the hashtag #MazRunsForONE when sharing – because errrrybody loves a hashtag

Thanks,
Maz

get involved.

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Just chillin’ with Mhairi Black at our launch

20 thoughts I’ve had since returning from Kenya

Africa

We returned from Kenya about a week agoooo and as always I’m having some reverse culture shock now I’m in little old Welwyn Garden City. It probably doesn’t help that I’ve gone to London about 6 of the 7 days that I’ve been back. Cue long escalators down to the tube (it’s surprisngly difficult get on an escalator after not being on for so long) and hoards of Christmas shoppers coming at me like an angry army.

These are some of the thoughts I’ve had since returning from Kenya;

1. language – I can’t say my normal ‘asante sana’ ‘pole’ ‘tuannai’ etc etc. I’ve had lots of weird looks as I’ve come out with ‘asanthank you’ to the guy who held the door open for me.

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2. Where has the sun gone? Seriously, it’s dark when I wake up, it’s dark when I leave for work (OK I don’t have a job yet  but you know what I mean; interviews/seeing my friends/wondering around Selfridges wishing I was rich), it’s dark when I get home. It’s practically dark by time I have my lunch. Who stole the sun? 😦

3. I have so much stuff. So many resources. Why am I not doing business? How do I complain about having nothing to wear when I have so much.

4. I can wash my clothes in a machine. On the flip side, I can’t just dry my things outside for an hour or two, I actually have to wait a full day.

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5. I can have a shower with heat options and everything. To be fair, I loved our bucket showers back in Kenya but it is pretty cool to just press a button and have hot, running water. Gone are the days of heating rain water over a fire. Oh and shower gel. No more dried up soap, actual fruity, foamy shower gel. What a time to be alive!

6. I can hear about world news, not just what’s going on in East Africa. Not that great because most of the news is depressing but whatevs.

7. Everyone looks like a moody bastard. But maybe that’s not UK specific, more of a London thing.

8. Why cant I get lunch for 50 bob? Wheres the cabbage and chapati? Also, totally craving street cake and pineapple slices.

9. Sanitary adverts here are so dull. Check out Always in Africa –


10. I want to talk to every black person I see. ‘what tribe you from babes???’ ‘Habari gani huns?!’ – I must remember that not every person with brown skin wants to be my mate. Not every black person is from Kenya…

11. There is so much food in the shops. Any food you could ever want (except chapati and cabbage). I spend 40% of my time standing in the aisles like whaaaaaat should I get. Even the choice of drinks is crazy. I’m not used to having more than 2 options. So overwhelmed waaaaa.

12. And all those things cost like 10 times more than they did a week ago.

13. Christmas lights and decorations everywhere. It’s all anyone can talk about. Don’t really get the hype.

14. I have my own room and privacy and now cows outside my window waking me up at 5:30am

15. It. is. FREEZING.

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16. New music!!!! I don’t know a lot of new artists and am a bit confused why everyone’s loving Justin Bieber all of a sudden but still. New music to my eaaaars!

17. No one shouts ‘Mzungu!’ (white person) as I walk down the street?! Street kids don’t harass me (I actually miss the kids loads and loads) and I don’t have to shake hands to greet every single person I meet. Happy days.

18. There is zero choice of tacky posters to buy on the street. And that makes me sad.

19. There’s plenty of excess room on public transport. Nothing will ever compare to our squished matatu journeys home; I’m talking 22 people stuffed onto a 16 seater minibus. Having personal space is not an option.

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20. It’s just not Africa. After a combined almost 2 years in Africa since 2012 coming back to the UK just doesn’t feel like home anymore.Not sure if I’ll ever shake that feeling! sob sob.

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