Quiet. Poker hot red rocky hills on either side of us and a nothingness inbetween that appeals to my love of solitude and space. We couldn’t quite believe our luck when we found this place, far away from anything, yet so beautiful that a small remote ranch beneath the rocky Tiras Mountains in Southern Namibia became an entire universe, enchanting us with it’s magical landscapes and herds of wild horses.
We found the Koiimasis Ranch signboard in the late afternoon, around the time when you are on a road trip in a desert and have not found a place to stay for the night yet. We’d stopped at a few places before, all of which were booked or that only take people who have prebooked! The ranch was 20 kilometeres down a dusty sand road. We had no cell phone signal and it would be dark soon. We could only hope that they had availability and were ‘open’ for business!
Our luck was in, but only just. Ranch Koiimasis have limited campsites and we got the last one! We wanted to stay for a few days so that we could slow the road trip down and have a proper break before driving a couple thousand kilometers home! I soon realised that this spectacular little farm in the middle of nowhere, is the perfect retreat and place to unwind. I’d love to go back there. The campsites were brilliant, surrounded by a landscape that draws you in where ever you look. They also have a lodge on the farm for those of you who prefer to keep some distance from the dust, devil thorns and scorpions! But for us, it was perfect. No crowded campsites, beautiful surroundings and good, clean facilities. This ranch felt like a mini Spitskoppe, except with the added bonus of wild horses and horse riding being part of the experience.
On this camping road trip, we mostly packed our family into one 5 man tent. But our youngest child decided that while here, he wanted to brave the night in his own 2 man tent. It was perfectly safe in the way of wild animals and it would be good for his self confidence. What we didn’t expect was a severe wind storm that would last for days! It was terrible timing – when you are in such a spectacular place, but the wind keeps you from exploring it fully! That night gusts of wind would come racing up the valley. You could hear a wave of wind coming from miles away and you’d know that within a minute or so, your tent would be flattened to the ground, tent fabric moulded to your face. With every gust of wind, we hoped like mad that we wouldn’t all be blown away in one swift swoop. Especially our son who was determined to see the night out in his own tent, despite the wind storm. After a proper tent thumping, seconds later there would be still and silence. And you’d build up hope again,that that was it, that you’d be allowed to rest. We were so tired.
But then you’d hear the beginnings of a faraway howl. It would get louder and louder and you’d brace yourself once again. The tent would begin to shake and bend and the wind would hit us a like a full blown tsunami, again and again…. and again. It felt like there was no end. A bit like 2018!
Despite the icy wind continuing the next day, we knew there’d still be a beautiful sunset. So we packed a few drinks and snacks and set off down a two track road deeper into the ranch. We spotted some wild horses in the distance and drove closer, watching them watch us as they cautiously drank water from the ranch borehole. Then they silently moved off and we thought we’d seen it all.
Like the wind, we heard it in the distance. The herd of horses nearby were suddenly alert, ears pricked. It got louder and louder, but it was not wind. From nowhere, clouds of dust bellowed, rising from behind a hill for no apparent reason. The entire valley seemed to rumble, waking from a deep sleep. The energy was electric and we knew something was coming.
Then like a band of Zulu impi’s rising from the shadows of a hill, galloped a herd of wild horses, thundering towards us at full speed! Right then, we were in the moment, in the moment of life, at full throttle. This is a good as it gets! This is that powerful moment that overrides anything and everything. That moment that makes you feel alive, an Invictus moment, a moment of unconquerable strength and resilience!
“It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”
– William Ernest Henley
I’m not sure how 2018 went for you, but for me that tent scenario is a pretty good representation of last year. A fairly disruptive year with regular blows coming from a number of directions. I think we all need an Invictus moment from time to time. One that stops us in our tracks and empowers us to take charge of our life, to become the master of our fate and to live with purpose and a clear vision.
Turning 40 and being in the year of 40 also helps. It’s a great age and I’m loving it! It’s one of those life changing years that’s particularly freeing. A time in your life that calls for reflection, change and most importantly, making things happen. Because there is no better time than now. Suddenly I am acutely aware of how fast life has gone and how quickly the rest will follow.
Wishing you all a great start to 2019 and a kickars good year!
If you’re planning a trip to Namibia, I’d highly recommend a visit to the Tiras Mountains and the surrounding ranches and farms. The D707 road that circles this range of mountains is said to be one of the most beautiful parts in Namibia. I fully concur! I also highly recommend Ranch Koiimasis, especially if you’d like to see wild horses. The weather we had was freak weather. After many years of a severe drought, we were there for the winter rain! And no-one can complain about that. Perhaps a return trip is needed.
We endured another two full days of strong wind then packed up and went on our merry way. We left just in time for another type of storm, but I’ll save that for the next blog!
My 2019 Motto quote by Zig Ziglar
“The easiest way to set goals is to answer the following questions: What is it I want to achieve? Where am I today, and what action do I need to take to achieve my goal?
You cant hit a target you cannot see and you cannot see a target you do not have.”