“It is now quite a few months since we (a group of ten) returned from Namibia (Oct 2016), but the pictures and memories are still with us almost every day. And I do not mean in our photo albums and on our hard drives (those pictures cannot be counted) – I mean those in our heads and in our conversations to date.
And this is not just because of the wealth of potential impressions, tastes and adventures that the countries we travelled for two weeks – mostly Namibia and Botswana – hold for their visitors. It is to a large degree due to those people who with their experience and empathy were able to fully unlock those potentials for us: Heike and Peter Witt.
Let me explain by way of contrast: I remember that lady that happened to be sitting next to me on the flight back to Frankfurt. She was talking excitedly about the antelopes she and her family had seen during their trip to Namibia. Only for a split second did I think I was going to enumerate to her the 20+ species (counting very conservatively) that Peter had shown us during our trip and all the awe-inspiring landscapes. I decided not to do that to her because I probably would have frustrated the entire family with the endless list of things we had seen and experienced during our trip. So instead I feigned curiosity about their antelope sightings, while silently remembering that we had stopped looking at antelopes as early as after two days, as on our trip they were put into perspective by the buffaloes, crocodiles, elephants, giraffes, hippos, lions, rhinos, wildebeests and zebras that kept crossing our paths or grazing outside our tents – even though antelopes kept getting our attention at dinner till the very end. J
If you think of a group of 10 people like us (even though familiar with each other already before the trip) going on a two-week gravel-road journey in three Jeeps (I should also mention the game-studded boat excursions) and spending numerous nights in tents and camp sites together, your mind might conjure up scenes of social disaster. But let me assure you that with Peter heading up the „team“ we were all under benign and wise control, from early-morning excursions to late-night fireside chats under the milky way – and always safe, well fed, and never ever thirsty.
With Heike’s and Peter’s preparation and flexibility to change things on the fly as needed, it was truly “our” trip. Many of us already have concrete plans to go back to see Peter and Heike again in the wilderness, knowing they will show us more things and share with us more stories that will again take our breaths away. We would not for a second consider returning without Heike’s and Peter’s guidance.
When at the beginning I wrote “group of ten,” this deliberately counted in Peter. And while Heike was not with us after the arrival day, remotely she always was. That simply is how it felt. And it even hurt at departure – in a good way.”