As a young boy, my parents and I would do an annual trip over Easter to the Kruger National Park. What glorious memories. There was no mistaking it: we were city folk from Johannesburg but, in those days, there was nothing to prove. No big egos trying to convince you that your lion was smaller than their lion 😉. My Dad was a sports man, and my mother was a mother. We just loved being there. I remember the smell of the potato bush at the camps and the smell of Elephant dung, the checklists of all the animals we saw and the excitement of the early morning game drives.
My uncle and aunt were the true campers, though, and as the little boy in the family (my cousins Sharon and Susan were older and had left home already), I went on some bush trips with them. My uncle was a sniper in WW2 and taught me how to shoot. I did not have a flare for hunting, but a jam jar at 50m stood no chance 😉.
Our first home my parents bought was the third last house in Alberton. So, for a few years we were the third last house in South Jo’burg. The veld was over the road. The veld was my playground, and my mates and I would disappear into the veld for the whole day and only had to be home for dinner. Later, we went with our bicycles and in my teens on motorbikes. We grew crops (a few potatoes that never got bigger than a marble) and protected our land and fort fiercely.
Like most kids in southern Africa, we grew up wild and not scared of much. I consider myself very very lucky to have been born at that time and into the family I had. My parents were very liberal and were very loving and good people. I liked my place on this earth. When I do my personal Caminos, these are the memories that come to mind a lot.
I have now walked over 5,000km around Namibia. My reason for my Caminos is mental health. I absolutely adore nature and here in Namibia we have a lot of wildernesses. In 2010, I walked my first Camino from Lüderitz to Swakopmund. It had an unbelievable effect on my life, and it was a very personal thing. I once came across some people who asked me how far I had walked and at that stage it was 400km that month. They said, ‘well, that is not very far’. To be honest, I have never walked for anything else than my personal mental health. The distance, speed, or time it has taken me is immaterial. It is the peace, happiness and health that brings me out here.
The adventure of it all reminds me so much of the happy times I spent in nature with my parents, aunt and uncle, and friends.
The Spanish word ‘Camino’ means ‘Path’ or ‘Way’. It is a pilgrimage that one does for various reasons – religious, spiritual, sports-related, health-related, or other.
On the Camino de Compostela you must register when you start. You receive your clam shell, and you tick the box indicating the reason you are doing it. A huge percentage of people who ticked “other” tick the box “spiritual” when they finish.
The way of St James is the most popular route and is not just one track but a network of paths that come from many different places and countries. They end at Santiago de Compostela in western Spain. In the year 820 AD, the tomb of st James was discovered in Galicia. Twelve centuries later, plenty of pilgrim’s travel from all over the world to walk the pilgrimage.
The clam shell was chosen to represent this Camino as its pattern represents all the paths leading to Santiago.
Even though your Camino starts at your front door, there are currently 285 Caminos listed, covering more than 75,000km in twenty-nine different countries. There are close to fifty in Spain alone, and nine in Portugal. UNESCO has recognised the various routes on the Camino de Compostela, and they were declared World Heritage sites in 1993. The routes from France and Northern Spain were recognised in 1998 and 2015, respectively.
There are also Caminos in Japan. The Kumano Kodo is a series of routes that crisscross the largest peninsula in Japan. They are categorized into three sub-groups: Koyasan, Yoshino and Omine. They were also made World Heritage sites in 2004.
There are also around 35 maritime routes to Santiago. The longest begins on Deception Island in Antarctica – 14,100km from Santiago.
Here are a few pics from Ellen’s pilgrimage to Santiago:
Doing a Camino of any kind will change your life. It is not about the destination, it is about what happens to you along the way. It does not have to be the Camino de Santiago to have the same effect on your life. My walks all take place in nature. I personally do not want to walk the Camino in Spain. Not for any reason except I feel it has just too many people. Look, obviously I would happily walk it 😉, but I found out years ago what makes me tick and it is not man-made anything. I do not need to spend time in dorms or walking the outskirts of cities, visiting fountains or cathedrals. I feel the peace of a church, sure, and can see the beauty in the architecture, but I feel a much stronger connection to my higher power in nature. I love forests, deserts, oceans, volcanos, bush (Bring back the bush 😉), beaches, swimming, hiking, snow, stars, wind, sun, wildlife, or anything that mother nature gives us. That is what floats my boat. So, Namibia is perfect for me and my pilgrimages.
My concerns on my Caminos are weather, shelter, warmth, food, and water. Nothing else is more important. I live from sunrise to sunset. Your body transforms into an engine that only needs nourishing meals to work at 100%. Water is your core need. No need for excess. As your body transforms, so does your mental state. You start to find answers to your questions and your spiritual side starts to become more open. The animals and insects on your path are also busy with their day and you can co-exist in harmony if you wish.
Take away the cellphones and the news channels, the keyboard warriors and the grumpy bosses. Leave the stress of daily life behind you and head into the veld like an adventurous child.
My longest Camino was 127 days. During that period, I had a long look inside myself. I did not always like what I saw and the voices that I heard. However, they are in me. They are part of me. How I react to them is my choice. My life right now is filled with love and harmony. Who you spend time with and what you do has a lot to do with that?
It is at times like this that you realise what is important to you and what is not.
A Camino should be about you. When you walk one, you will find out that it is. Whether it is in Spain, New Zealand or Bora Bora, it’s your journey. I hope that with these Caminos here in Namibia I will be able to help more people to try one and to find some peace in nature. Just the way I found it 😉.
Our Kunene Camino runs from 20-30 May 2022 and is now fully booked, so next year I will run 2 dates.
So, here’s an update on what I will be doing for the hungry Himba – the community I was telling you about in the last blog.
I did not get a lot of love from the supermarket chains in the North so I will do it myself. We will take food along with us. I will buy maize-meal, canned goods, oil, sugar, etc. out of the proceeds of the Camino and then we will take it up with us and hand it out as we go. Operation Hungry Himba is a-go-go! 😉
However, I could also use your help. If you would like to donate any item – anything edible, even a bag of maize or rice – we will get up to the Kunene and it WILL make a difference. Please drop it off at Kapps Farmstall on the airport road, and I will pick it up from them. Alternatively, give me a call and, if I am around, I can meet you 😉. Please leave your name with it and ask the guys to log it in the book that I have provided. Under no circumstances leave cash. I only need foodstuffs, please!!!!!!
If by any chance there is anyone who has some time and fancies an adventure, a bakkie and trailer could follow us with the food to hand out? I will happily cover their fuel and meal costs, so do get in contact.
As we are slowly getting back to a semblance of normality, I ask you to support local. Next time you think you are bored, why not go and watch some local live music? Or visit a flea market? Or take a dog for a walk at the SPCA? Or go for a swim? Please support our local tourism companies. The market has changed and there are a lot of people and families without a source of income. Play some tennis or volunteer your time for a good cause. Go and spend some time with an elderly person. Go for a walk-in nature. Pick up the phone and say hi to someone you have lost touch with. Be nice to them. Doing something nice for someone else will make you feel good and feeling good is addictive 😉. Lastly, do something for yourself. Love yourself and cut yourself some slack. You have been through a time of incredible hardship. You are only human, but you are still here. That’s got to show you how strong you are. 😉
I also have two other longer Caminos in May. Then a happiness, meditation, yoga and mindfulness retreat running this year during Silent April and, of course, our Damaraland Camino that runs 3 times a month from June to September.
I have changed the route of the Damaraland Camino and we will now start at Red Kopple. It is a stunning new first few days and we will now be supporting the Damara Family of Mr Desmond Siebeb. Red Koppie is on his land, and we will also be helping his dogs 😉. (Watch this space for pics 😉).
On our M2M Camino, I will be supporting the village of Adolf Ina Goases.
30 April – 8 May 2022 BRANDBERG Camino.
This will be our first Camino of the season. We will once again start at the wonderful BRANDBERG White Lady Lodge, and we will walk clockwise around the BRANDBERG. We cover 120km in 8 days, and it promises to be a real adventure.
I just drove the recce in the last few days, and if you like the BRANDBERG before, you will now love it. As you know, it covers an area of around 700 square kilometres. The core area is 450 square kilometres, and this is where the Konigstein Peak is. This is Namibia’s highest point at 2,575m above sea level. The core area was made a national monument in 1951.
There Is Elephant, Lion, Leopard and Rhino in the Ugab and BRANDBERG west. So, we will stay together, and safety is of foremost importance.
It is an 8 day walk with the last day being a short day. 8 May.
I have chosen to walk clockwise, and we do an average of 16km/day. I will wake you up early and we will be walking at sunrise. Breakfast is at 6km each morning. It is a fully catered and backed up Camino, so you only walk with your day bag. The Camp staff will take care of everything else.
With the BRANDBERG being a round mountain we will see a different Sunrise and sunset daily. We will see views of the Numas, Amis and Klein Numas gorges and of course the Ugab could produce anything. I see the springbok and ostrich are back. We will do a day’s walking up the Ugab river and walk down the Ugab terrace. There will be no moon so we will be in for some amazing night sky’s 😉 Please download a sky map app on your phone. 😉
Each 2,1mx2,1mx2,1m tent has two camp beds, 2 x mattresses, 2 x sleeping bags and 2 pillows.
There will be an enclosed shower cubicle and chemical toilet. You will have total privacy.
The Price is N$8999pp/sharing
N$10999 for a single tent. So, bring a friend 😉 We will be uploading the website in the upcoming days so keep an eye on www.wildcherryadventures.com
For enquiries and to book please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
At the begining of January Ellen and i ran a Silence, meditation, yoga and mindfulness retreat. It was such a lovely time. With that i am really excited to share with you that we are going to do it again 😉
Feel free to contact me for any enquires or have a look at Ellens website on
I hope to see you soon on one of the Caminos or the retreat.
Stay safe and happy days 😉