Tag Archives: Kavango River

Exercise and Yoga during Peace Corps Service in Namibia

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My outdoor yoga studio in Namibia

I started practicing yoga in 2009. My best friend Laura got really into Bikram Yoga and kept telling me all the wonderful benefits of yoga, so eventually I decided to give it a go. I’ve practicing for 6 years now. I go through phases where I’m doing yoga many days a week and then sometimes not often. In Namibia I practice on average one day a week. It is a great way to de-stress.

Josh and I began showing Namibians our love of yoga at our host family in Okahandja for our 2 months of training. We would do yoga with the kids on the porch. We called our style of yoga “Shusk-tanga.” Patent pending.

Our host family loved it. It was a nice way for us to bond with them. We saw the 3 year old from our host family in Okahandja over Christmas Holiday and she still remembers “Downward Dog.”

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After a yoga session with our host family, another PCV and other neighbors in our neighborhood called “Smarties”

I then brought yoga with me to our site and my school. I did it once with the Girls Club and many girls enjoyed it so much they wanted to keep doing it together. When I am free on the weekends, I’ll put together a Saturday morning yoga session. It’s been a fun way to share something I enjoy and am passionate about.

I always enjoy hearing everyone in my class say “Miss! I feel so good!” after a class is over. I am not a trained teacher myself but I have done it long enough to give people the basics. I usually put a yoga dvd on halfway through class to let the experts tell us when to breathe in and out, etc.

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Saturday morning yoga with some of my learners

The website yogadownload.com offers a free membership for PCVs. It really makes yoga more accessible and introduces people all over the world to new styles of yoga. It’s a great way to keep your yoga routine fresh.

Workout videos and running have also been a great way to help cope with stress here. If you’re a person who likes to turn their headphones on and ignore the rest of the world when running, well then running in Namibia might not be for you. On days when I’m feeling social I’ll go run in town and on the sandy paths and greet people as I go by.

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Seeing the Kavango River as you run by isn’t a bad way to spend 30-45 minutes. Running and excercize in general really isn’t a popular thing here (most want to save their calories) so this white lady gets some funny looks, but it’s a fun atmosphere on the walking path near our flat. I see ladies carrying baskets on their heads, men walking home from work, feral dogs who want to bite me and little kids playing with one another.

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Rupara Village Life

While conducting the Haingura Abercross business training, I stayed in my counterpart’s homestead which was near to the training site. Here are some photos of my experiences in the village.

Rupara homestead

I love the big trees in the middle of the homestead providing shade and sometimes food, depending on the type.

fish and pap dinner

My tasty dinner of  river fish and mahangu pap (Millet porridge).

shebeen and oxen

My colleague’s family owns and operates this shebeen next to their homestead.

Rupara kids

Great smiles from the kids at the homestead housing the Haingura Abercross project.

village sunset

Amazing village sunset taken with my phone.

another sunset

The same night’s sunset but this was taken with my Canon SLR.

Kavango River fishing

A group of men fishing on the Kavango River with traditional makuro canoes in the foreground.

Boy with oxen

A boy with his oxen at the Haingura Abercross homestead.

Rupara goats

Typical village landscape with goats.

Kavango River hippo

This hippo was in the Kavango River near the old mission in Rupara. On a separate night, I accidentally took a quick bath in the river with a hippo floating on the other side. I didn’t realize it was there until I was already out drying off and it started grunting.

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Hakusembe River Lodge

Rundu in the Kavango Region of Namibia is a town of only 60,000 people, but sometimes we still need to escape the hustle and bustle of town living. Our favorite place for a weekend getaway is Hakusembe River Lodge just about 15km west of town. Usually we tent camp at their beautiful sites along the river (each with its own private bathroom with hot showers!) but due to the flooding of the Kavango River this rainy season, the campground is closed until June. We had to settle for the bungalow shown below to celebrate Lisa’s birthday weekend. We even had the chance to do some birding in between relaxing at the pool and eating great food.

Hakusembe is owned by Gondwana Collection and they own many lodges and camp sites in Namibia. Lucky for us, they offer an amazing deal for Namibian citizens and Visa holders (us) that if you pay N$100 then you get a card that gives you 50% off all accommodation and a discount on dining. It’s a bargain in American dollars to stay at such a beautiful place, especially the camping (with the Gondwana card it is $7.50 per person for a campsite). In America when we went camping/backpacking we didn’t shower. Ironically, since we don’t have a hot shower at our flat, we go camping to GET a hot shower. 🙂

Some of our favorite parts about this serene place are the songbirds that wake you, coffee delivered to your bungalow doorstep at dawn, seeing otters play in the river, feeling grass beneath our feet, the cool, crisp air and the welcoming staff. It’s a place to relax, reflect and breathe deeper.

Hakusembe bungalow

We put in for a site transfer with this bungalow as our housing…

Hakusembe pool

The pool oasis of Hakusembe

hakusembe-butterfly

The landscaping is beautiful with grass, flowers and a vegetable garden to go along with the palm and banana trees.

hakusembe-floating-house

They are currently using this floating house as a registration area since guests are arriving by boat due to flooding, but usually it is available as accommodation.

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Another amazing sunset on the Kavango River. The boardwalk on the right leads to a large group of newly-built bungalows and the camping area.

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White-crested helmet shrike

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Scarlet-chested sunbird

hakusembe-red-billed-firefinch

Red-billed firefinch

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Scenery and wildlife near Nunda River Lodge

Here are more photos along the Kavango River near Divundu, Namibia. We recommend staying at Nunda River Lodge. Very friendly owners, local staff and great food!

 

Nunda river deck

The view from the deck at Nunda River Lodge.

white-breasted cormorant

This is a better photo of a white-breasted cormorant as the large black webbed feet are more visible.

monitor lizard

Large monitor lizard on the riverbank.

Nunda bungalow

The bungalows at Nunda River Lodge offer a great view of the river. You can often fall asleep listening to the sounds of hippos.

sunset

Reflection of the clouds on the Kavango River at sunset.

family at lodge

Family photo at Nunda River Lodge.

mokoro

A man paddling a mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) on the Kavango River.

Nunda tent

Another lodging option at Nunda is a platform tent on the riverbank.

hippo yawm

A hippo displaying its teeth in middle of the Kavango River.

 

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Birding on the Kavango River

One of our favorite places in Namibia is along the Kavango River near Divundu. East of Rundu, the river joins with the Cuito River from Angola and flows south, eventually forming the Okavango Delta as it empties into the Kalahari desert. We like to stay at Nunda River Lodge, with very friendly owners and great accommodations and camping.

blacksmith lapwing

Blacksmith lapwing. Very common bird along the riverbanks in Namibia, Botswana and Zambia. Also would be a great name for a band!

white-crowned lapwing

UPDATED JUNE 2015 African wattled lapwing. This photo was taken from across the Kavango River so the quality is not very good. Originally confused this bird with the white-crowned lapwing. I took a much better photo of this species recently at Hakusembe River Lodge.

African paradise-flycatcher

African paradise-flycatcher. I spotted this male and female at Nunda River Lodge. They would not cooperate and hold very still for a photo but you can get an idea of the length of the male’s tail here.

african paradise-flycatcher

The female posed in a little better light to show off her striking blue beak and eye.

laughing dove

Laughing dove. The band on the neck makes this dove easy to identify.

grey go-away bird

Grey go-away bird. Very distinct sound, “Gweh.” Also has a sweet mohawk that is semi-visible here.

golden weaver

Golden weaver. Might be wrong about this identification, but the female golden weaver is the closest I best I could come up with.

red-faced mousebird

Red-faced mousebird. Commonly seen, beautiful bird with a very long tail.

Water thick-knee

Water thick-knee. A fine-looking bird that deserved better than to be named for a slightly above average size knee joint.

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Filed under Birds, Parental Visit, Peace Corps Namibia Blog