Everyday Life In the Desert

On the way from Botswana to Windhoek, I experience the monotony of the Kalahari outside the national parks. Here is the emptiness in the everyday life, which gains by variety of color. Houses, clothing, signs and vehicles look like color blots against the browns and overtones, or the blue of the sky. Through their strong lines, the landscapes of Botswana make a sense of monotony.

Only in southern Namibia are the typical colors of the red dunes, yellow grass and a blue sky. Photographically they scream just to be reproduced as well. And of course I fall for it.

The journey to the south of Namibia resembles a journey into the German past. Local names like Blumfelde, Mariental, Kirchberg or Ulenhorst testify to the attempt of a German settlement. Many of the villages are decayed and look like ghosttowns. there are almost only barracks left. As you approach these ruins you will find here and there some remnants of the past. Cloth trimmings with blue white checks. The German book, which has been treated by the wind for decades. Glass and porcelain cuttings, which can clearly be attributed to the German manufactory. Survival in these places are only farms that work through irrigated green areas like green oases in the ocher landscape and try to attract tourists for an overnight stay.

Luxury in the monotony

I stay on a lodge in the middle of the Kalahari. Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch. I was actually attracted by the campground, which is fully booked. And so I spend the night in luxury. Swimming pool amidst the desert. Dinner in the Boma. Breakfast buffet. House gazelles with gum-dumplings. Well-heeled, spoiled tourists. The complete contrast to ten days with a rooftent. But no less beautiful. At night I stay alone (!) on the astronomical observation tower with an infinite and overwhelming starry sky. I am also alone with the morning Gamedrive. Something surprising, because the night, the lodge and the countryside did not deserve sleeping or getting up late.

And already when leaving Bagatelle, the wanderlust and the desire to return come directly. And the visit of Hardap Dam or Daan Villjoen Game Park at Windhoek don’t comfort.

The attempt of photographing monotony in everyday life outside tourist circles.