By Exodus Managing Director Pete Burrell.Time ground to a shuddering halt as my senses became utterly overwhelmed by vistas so vast, and nature so raw, that all we could do was stand in wonder at the beauty of our planet… “We have busy everyday lives, so for me holidays are when you can reconnect and spend quality time together. For this reason we wanted to try a Private Adventure, giving us the freedom and flexibility to spend each day how we wanted – but with the benefit of having it organised for us by people in the know. The big decision was where to go. I have a love of the world’s wild places and have long wanted to visit the wide open spaces of Namibia. But, I must admit, taking the whole family there felt like a bit of a gamble. A land of few towns, shops, cafés, cinemas restaurants, people, fewer roads and (shhhh!) sparse internet access was not a natural fit for my city-dwelling teenagers. But then there was the allure of camping, activities, wildlife, scenery, campfires, sand dunes, vast open spaces and hot smoky braais – that’s a BBQ to you and me. And UK summer holiday time works well there, as it’s winter in Namibia, keeping the temperatures manageable. Could it be the perfect destination for an adventurous family, just a little bit outside of their comfort zone?Quality family time I needn’t have worried. Simplifying life down to the practicalities of camping, cooking boerewors and steaks on a braai, walking, exploring, talking, reading and playing cards together became so natural to all of us. Out-of-this-world sights and sounds helped, of course: exploring the highest dunes in the world, meeting and understanding how the local people lived, watching rhinos and elephants drinking at a waterhole, discovering ancient rock carvings of penguins in the middle of a desert, and spotting shipwrecks on the spooky Skeleton Coast.Unforgettable adventure There were just so many highs. For Clare, time with the family with no internet and gadgets ranked highly. As did singing along to Neil Diamond while driving across the desert, looking back to see all the kids asleep on each other in the back seat! Everyone reading books and big campfires in beautiful campsites surrounded by enormous rocks. Seeing Mr and Mrs Rhino, as well as a close encounter with the big matriarch elephant and her brood. And the kids loved it too. They thought the sand dunes were even better than a beach, and they loved the walking safari with the guide telling us about the birds and plants almost as much as they loved the ice cream and pizzas in Swakopmund – admittedly, after a few days without. They vividly remember the excitement of finally seeing a giraffe drinking at a waterhole, the local band playing African music at Etosha and eating the biggest steak they had ever seen… And for me? There are so many wonderful moments that it’s hard to pick just one. But a quad bike safari across endless plains full of oryx as the sun set on the red rock mountains was an experience that will remain fixed in our collective family memory for a lifetime.
Take me there: Namibian Adventurer