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Namibia

Damaraland landscapeRed sand.  Endless flat white salt pans.  Moonscape mountains of red sandstone rocks randomly emerge from a soft silvery-green plain dotted with the occasional tree.  Rivers teeming with wildlife and birds.  A few miles later, arid dusty sand-coated trees where the leaves have withered and browned.  The desert here ends right at the pounding Atlantic Ocean, giving Namibia a seemingly endless beach stretching inland for miles.The scenery and landscape must be some of the most beautiful on earth - certainly some of the most beautiful I have ever seen in my travels. Etosha Salt pansNamibia is extreme.  Extremely beautiful.  Extremely harsh.  This is an amazing place to visit.  But I suspect it's incredibly difficult to live here.The temperatures in the desert fluctuate 50 degrees in a few short hours ... and most of this country is desert.  The sun is hot.  Mind-bendingly, hide under your scarf to get out of the sun hot.  The nights have us sleeping in fleece hats and multiple layers and bag liners for warmth.The population here is small, and most people live in small villages and earn their living subsistence farming - somehow scraping a living farming this dry, sandy ground or by herding goats and cattle.  One of many shipwrecks off the Skeleton coast, named by early mariners because the treacherous Antarctic current wrecked countless ships, and survivors of the wreck had no chance of surviving the desert and lack of food and water. And now there is a drought in the north of the country, and the crops have failed.  Which means food shortages for many people, when they already live on very little.  UNICEF is gearing up for substantial food assistance to help people survive till the next crop comes.There is high unemployment and few jobs ... most jobs are in the mines.

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