The penniless rover

17 April 2015

My asthmatic lungs gasp for air as they breathe in what feels like vaporised black tar and they attempt to break free from my bruised rib cage.

Every year spent in the city means these brittles bones and fouled flesh further deteriorate, and holistic healing methods, regular workouts and a healthier eating lifestyle seem to do very little to remedy the damage done by this polluted city.

Sometimes, all one needs to do is stick one’s head over the clouds of sulphur in the air and inhale the untainted air to restore the body’s equilibrium.

When I’m feeling exceptionally adventurous, I might suggest that we take a hike up the Aloe Trail, which lies within the comfort of the city.

The result of that is usually a group of cynical women with wine in their water bottles, who lose their way half an hour after starting on the trail.

Therefore, you can imagine how I jumped for joy when the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, through its Namibia Protected Landscape Conservation Areas Initiative (NAM-PLACE) project invited us to the unveiling of its newest hiking trail at Farm Godeis.

Initially, the trail had been slotted for dawn, but the infamous “African time” prevailed once more and the hike began a few hours late, but it was a cool wet day and the occasional drizzle ensured it stayed that way.

The family that owns and runs the farm was hospitable to say the least and they made it their priority to see our bellies filled and throats lubricated at all times.

The hikes begin from the farmhouse and as we steadily track our way through the 6km hike, but our intention is not to hike the entire trail.

The house is a mere stone throw away but one can already see springbok running freely in the distance, followed by a herd of goats who seem unaware of their unusual companions.

It’s been less than a kilometre, but those of us who are unfit have already started panting with exhaustion. Giselle our trail guide and the daughter of the owners of Farm Godeis is ever patient as she encourages us all to push on.

If you’ve lived in the city, the noise becomes a part of you, and your neighbours’ wailing children, the taxi with its loud horn and the loud engine of a sports car belonging to a man child trying to navigate his way through a mid-life crisis, all become part of the soundtrack of your life. But here, far from the restlessness of the city; removed from busy roads, the silence feels deafening at first. Its cause for a mild panic attack until it hits me that this is how things were meant to be.

I inhale; the air is clean and sweet, scented only by the plants around us, which gives me renewed purpose as I begin to walk faster, with a skip in my step as a sign of my excitement.

We pass various landmarks but nothing catches my eye until we arrive at Flinstone’s Cafe. A stone cave that resembles a cafe near the water, complete with a pond at its mouth.

“How much longer do we have to go,” I ask, while I enjoy the scenery, but my feet are becoming heavy and I’m down to my last water bottle.

“Just up that hill,” Giselle points out, promising that the peaks of the hills are where the best views are.

Now, I can’t say whether it’s because I’m so short, but it looked more like a mountain to me. Still this did not deter me from getting to the top.

“Be careful, it’s very steep,” Giselle warns as some rocks tumble down. And steep the climb is, and a few feet into the climb I contemplate quitting. “That bottle of wine would have come in handy right now,” I mutter under my breath.

Like a good little soldier I march on until I realise I now have cement feet and can no longer continue.

The end of my ascent is near but I am too exhausted to push on.

As I plummet to the ground, a friend joins me in my resignation but two of our companions refuse to leave us behind, stating that they would also remain behind with us.

Emotional blackmail is such an effective tool, and not wanting to be responsible for anyone else missing out we soldier on.

Our destination is a cliff that shows the entire farm and creates the illusion that the mountains are rolling.

Looking down at Flintstones’ Cafe, I see a baboon stalking us. Usually I would have broken out in a panic, because we have all seen the three instalments of Planet of the Apes.

However, in this moment nothing can scare me; nothing worries me, because this has to be the most serene place on the face of the earth. – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 tortise consultancy


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

Contact Us

Windhoek Observer House
c/o John Meinert & Rossini Street
Windhoek West
Tel: +264 61 411 800
Fax: +264 61 226 098