Form and Function – Namibian style

Monday 31 October to Wednesday 2 November

For this whole adventure through Namibia we have only two one night stays. The other stopovers are two nights – time to get there, acquaint yourself, do something and move on.

Our first one nighter was after we had exited Etosha – the biggest wild life park in Namibia. This was followed by one night at Roy’s Rest Camp to break the long journey to the Caprivi Strip in the north east.

The two stops were like chalk and cheese. There is such a contrast between them.

Etosha is one of the most popular destinations in Namibia and so accommodation was challenging. Our travel agency had asked if we would pay more as her preferred place was booked out.

And so we were booked into the exclusive, luxurious Emanya @ Etosha.

The pristine white building looked wonderful as Bruce’s photos will prove, however it was a comedy of functionality.

Our room had a concrete wardrobe and shelves but nowhere to sit. The lounge chairs provided were outside on the verandah, facing west in the searing heat. The wifi didn’t work until I found a power point high on the wall was turned off. I climbed on a chair and fixed that. It also turned the TV on but there was no remote control to turn it off. The hot water didn’t work so they opened up the adjoining room. I had a nice hot shower at 6:30am but when Bruce tried to shower at 7:15am there was only a trickle of water. Clearly the early bird…

There was no flywire on the windows and no mosquito nets over the bed so we were forced to use the air conditioning which only had a single speed fan, high with an unadjustable temperature control, freezing. I slept snuggled up in a doona on a searing hot night.

The bathroom was enormous, running the length of the room. It’s feature was an enormous spa bath, in this water poor land. At one end was a toilet and a very small shower cubicle. At the other end were two wash basins with lovely above the counter bowls. The tap was placed in such a way that you couldn’t get your hand between it and the basin.

As we were shown around it was suggested we bring a torch at night so that we don’t fall into the waterways that meander around the restaurant.

The reception centre was even more interesting. High windows that let in all the tropical sun, without cooling. A bar pool that looked like it was festering with mosquito lavae. I visited the toilet and nearly strangled myself on the ‘hanging’ wash basin, the supporting wire was dangerously close to door. They offered face cloths to dry your hands. Two of them. I wouldn’t like to be third in turn to use the facilities.

There was an outdoor room with four seats set up for foot spas, to relax after the safari. In actual fact it is illegal to get out of your car in the safari parks, so you are unlikely to be foot weary.

Everywhere I looked in this beautifully designed place I saw lack of or poorly designed functionality.

I guess it is any designer’s dream to be given an open book, but function is equally important.

Our next journey was short, but we made a wayside stop to see the world largest known meteorite. The Hoba Meteorite weighs approximately 50 ton and is almost 3m long and up to 1m thick. Scientists reckon it struck earth about 80,000 years ago. For the scientifically interested, the meteorite consists of approximately 82.4 per cent iron, 16.4 per cent nickel and 0.76 percent cobalt with other trace elements of carbon, sulphur, chromium, copper, zinc, gallium, germanium and iridium – nothing to endanger Superman.

There were listed indigenous plants and some lizards at the Hoba museum, but what entertained us most was the little birds.  It is as if a fine artist had taken their brushes and paints and invented different colour combinations for each bird – they were beautiful.

Our next one night stop was at Roy’s Rest Camp with very little in the way of activities. The water hole was popular with the birds, the bush walk took all of ten minutes and the wifi was located in an open corral which was a hot spot in more ways than one.

But this was the most eclectic place we have stayed at. Our room was a round brick building with a straw roof, built around a dead tree. Towels were hung from stripped branches strategically attached to the wall. Light fittings varied from upside down enamelled bowls to electrified oil lanterns. Numerous bits of farm equipment had been reused in various forms such as curtain rails and lantern holders.

The reception area carried the theme even further with the swimming pool filtration running through an old iron lion’s foot bath. Some lights were oil lamps converted from anything you could imagine. Old car bodies appeared out of walls, stone walls started and stopped.

As we were leaving I asked who was responsible – turns out it is the owner who has amazing creativity. And as we were leaving she was rearranging and adding more art.

The whole place was a luscious treat for the eyes and a thoroughly enjoyable one night stay. And everything worked!