Those Adorable Meerkats!

Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
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Trip End Aug 01, 2007


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Sunday, December 3, 2006

He Said:
Yet another long drive (Namibia is a HUGE country!) brought us south to the dusty town of Keetmanshoop. It is a rather quiet place with a large church, a main street, and many boarded-up shops. Actually, it looked almost identical to a lot of rural American towns I have been through. We came here to visit the Quiver Tree Forest and the rock formations called Giant's Playground, as well as stock up on provisions before heading into the remote Fish River Canyon.
Quiver trees are really big aloe plants that grow to heights of up to twenty-five feet. They actually in silhouette look a lot like big broccoli stalks. They got the name since Bushmen often used the branches for arrow quivers. In any case, the grove was quite beautiful but the best part was that our campground was right in the middle of an area inhabited by meerkats. The species have gained fame recently due to the Discovery Channel TV series, "Meerkat Manor" which follows a troupe of the animals over the course of a year. They look like squirrel-sized weasels or mongoose and the only place they can b\e found on earth is in a few provinces in southern Namibia. They are adorable and distinctive because they stand up on their hind legs (to survey their surrounding area for predators), and have some very complex social behavior. In fact, after watching "Meerkat Manor" a few times before we departed for our trip, the little animals moved instantly to the top of my list of game I had hoped to see during my time in Namibia...even above lions, rhinos, and the rest of the Big 5! The meerkats were surprisingly tame, letting me approach quite closely and snap some great photos. They are fantastically photogenic little guys!
My Namibia experience is complete, everything else is icing on the cake!

She Said:
In addition to meerkats, our campsite also had other interesting pets...a warthog, a baby eland, a goat, a tiny little extremely cute Jack Russell terrier puppy... oh, and 2 cheetahs! It's strange what other people consider pets in other parts of the world. We were selected by several other of the campsite "pets", and had to get up in the middle of the night to kill the 10 or so mosquitoes that managed to enter the tent though our screened window.
On thing that is odd are all Christmas decorations we are seeing in stores and in the small towns we are driving through. My first reaction when I see trees or wreaths is "I can't believe they still have their Christmas decorations up from last year!" It is so hot here, that it just doesn't seem to fit. We have basically been in summer weather since May, and I have to keep reminding myself that it is December. The commercialization of the Christmas season has certainly reached southern Africa, and stores are selling dancing mechanical Santas, gift-wrap, and decorations galore.
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