A lot of people, when they visit Namibia, want to visit during the winter because of the cooler weather. But also because when they think wet season, they think European rain… weeks, days of endless down pouring. Grey, dim light and no sunshine. But in Namibia it doesn’t rain like that.

We have one awesome build it up towards rain. Massive big white clouds that loom and just get bigger and bigger. Thunder-and-lightning displays that shoots shivers down your back. And then, when the rain starts hitting the ground; big fat drops that sounds like rocks on the roof. It pours. Sometimes for only ten minutes. Sometimes for three hours or more.

When it stops, the whole earth comes to life. And the smell. Oh my word, the smell. There is no apt word to describe the African earth after the rain. If only I could bottle that smell, I would be a millionaire!

©Mariette du Toit, 2009 – Etosha National Park

Baie toekomstige toeriste maak seker hulle besoek Namibië in die winter wanneer dit koeler is en ek verstaan dit, maar baie besoek ons in die winter omdat die somer Namibië se nat-seisoen is. Buitelanders dink aan reën as weke, dae van grou, nat weer. Reën wat net nooit ophou nie en mens tot die huis verban.

In Namibië lyk die reën ietwat anders. Die wolke bou vir ure op. Sulke dik, wit wolke wat dreig om alles oor te neem. En as hulle genoeg saamgepak het, en die donderweer en weerlig span saam om een van die grootste skouspele ter aarde te gee, dan bliksem die hoendervleis uit my uit. Die druppels wat dan begin val, betree nie die aarde saggies soos ‘n trapsuutjie nie. Die stort soos klippe op die aarde neer en dit maak alles nat van bo tot onder. Dit gooi. (Ons praat ook van dit reën ou tannies met stok kierries, maar hierdie sal net sin maak as jy dit beleef). Soms reën dit skaars vyf minute, soms langer as drie ure. As dit dan sou ophou, kom die hele aarde tot lewe. En die reuk….

Die reuk van Afrika reën. Daar is net mooi geen woord of versameling daarvan, wat dit kan beskryf nie. As ek net die reuk sou kon bottel, was ek dan ‘n millionêr!

As dit net weer wil reën.

Salt of the Earth

I will apologise in advance for the lack of creativity on the English side. I wrote this piece originally in Afrikaans and will try to relay the emotion as best as I can.

It is that time of the year where Namibians share their green photos. Photos of green grasslands, flowing rivers and storms on the horizons. And it is right. It is beautiful. But I have just returned from a barren corner of Namibia where rain has not touched Earth in a very long time.

If indeed the clouds should burst open the birds that are usually the first to rejoice would be quiet. Most feathered friends from this area have moved on to another area where hopefully their survival rate would be on the up. Those that chose to keep fighting the unbearable heat would be quiet as it would be their first experience with this earthly miracle.

The animals with their thick, thirsty tongues would move tenderly to the nearest little pool to drink the promise of more. And then they too will just stand. Stand-and-wait is something these animals have mastered.

And then the people of this barren land would come and also just stand. Face-up to the heavens above. And as the rains wet them, their tears will  unite with the drops of heaven and rush to the earth. Salt of the earth rain.

Photo taken on the hills of Kaokoland © Mariette du Toit, 2019

Dis hierdie tyd van die jaar wanneer mense hul groen velde, lopende riviere, en donderstorm foto’s deel, maar ek kom nou uit ‘n gedeelte van die land waar dit bitter lank gelede die seën van reën ervaar het.

Sou dit skielik hier begin reën sou die voëls wat gewoonlik eerste is om te kwetter en lawaai; stil wees. Die meeste geveerdes van hierdie gebied het reeds elders skuiling gaan soek teen die  verwoedende hitte. Die wat wel nog daar is sal eers stil wees onder die eerste druppels reën, want vir baie sal dit ‘n eerste wees.

Die diere wat die eindeloos geveg om lewe en dood oorleef het sal styf-styf na ‘n plassie hinkepink om lafenis vir hul dik geswelde tonge te vind. As die reën lank genoeg aanhou sal hul stil, tevrede, net staan. Want vir staan-en-wag verstaan hulle goed.

Die mense van hierdie gebied sal ook net staan en saam die druppels uit die lug, sal hul trane van dankbaarheid, van verligting, van lewe op die aarde neerplons. Sout van die aarde druppels.