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A N Y B O D Y ' S N A M I B I A
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Namibia’s diamond mining days may have past, but with active tourist and conservation efforts the country is reclaiming its golden glow.
Less than 150 years ago, Germany purchased the ivory coast of Namibia for $500 and 200 rifles.
One-third of the native Nama and Herero people were slaughtered in the European's conquest of their land and resources.
During World War I, South African soldiers invaded Namibia, and succeeded in taking over the diamond mines.
However, one diamond mine, hidden in the dunes of the desert, remained undiscovered.
In the town of Kolmanskop along the Skeleton Coast, a once-booming mining town is now swept beneath the sand of dust and time.
At one point during its 50 year reign, the the German mining operation produced 20% of the world's diamonds.
Wooden homes were erected upon the sand, a casino, theatre, bowling alley, a bar, and the first x-ray machine in South Africa.
Thirty mere years later, the diamonds gone and the wealth stripped, the Germans abandoned their African town of Kolmanskop,
leaving their homes to wither and their legacy to deteriorate beneath the tireless pull of time.
Now, Namibia, having gained independence in 1990 after 100 years of ownership, oppression and apartheid from Germany and South Africa, is reclaiming its own.
Namib, meaning vast place in Nama, is the third least densely populated country in the world. It is also in the top 10 of amount of land dedicated to national parks.
Namibia is an untamed, undiscovered abyss, once plundered, today preserved.
Iron-rich orange sand, blown by the Atlantic, rises to form the oldest and tallest sand dunes in the world.
The dunes descend to white salt pans that stretch dry, cracked and forgotten, disappearing into a blank horizon.
Beyond the horizon, mountains glow purple in the last trickles of sunlight, forming expansive valleys where wildlife freely roams.
Across the imaginative and limitless landscape, as you begin to look out, you begin to look within.
The largest sand dunes in the world, screaming orange and beaming heat, hold a hidden oasis of what once was.
Deep in these huge dunes in the Namib-Nakluft National Park, a salt flat in glowing white rests with the once-lived, limbed remains of camelthorn trees.
Though it may appear dead, a hum of vibrating sand and the steaming effort of the sun upon the cracked dirt is enough to exhibit Earth's immortality.
These camel thorn trees, now known as Deadvlei, have stood here against the test of time for over 700 years.
Where at one point during a great flood, a shallow pool was able to form, life was able to grow.
Like the old German mining town of Kolmanskop, though temporary, a memory eternal.
Nearby, a couple of gemsbok sat beneath a living camel thorn tree, relaxing in its shade.
A hum of the vibrating sand filled the air like a swarm of cicadas or the sound from electricity wires.
Atop a distant dune, the wind whipped up the sand in a ribbon, whisked it away the top of the dune and it disappeared into nothing but dust.
In the moment I questioned nothing, but today I consider the power of an unknown paradise.
Namibia has endless possibilities to be a major tourist destination: unparalleled beauty, boundless horizons,
enchanting vistas, national parks, empowered government, a historic and beautiful culture.
However, half the beauty of Namibia is the isolation, the enchanting emptiness.
If it were to be known, would it retain its incredible mystery?
Just like the colonization and diamond days,
would people strip it of its beauty and leave nothing but sand to fill up the space left behind?
The secret of Namibia is yours to uncover.