The photo challenge topic of the weekly is unlikely. The first thing that popped into mind for me was encountering people I’d met before while traveling in Namibia last April.
My first trip to Namibia was in 2015, with a two night stop in Sossusvlei, and then a two night stop at Damaraland Camp. At the Damaraland Camp, we had a wonderful guide named Chris. He was an incredibly thoughtful and knowledgable guide and he took great care to show us the best of the area and share his expertise with us. At DMC, we also had an amazing host in camp manager Maggie.
My second trip to Namibia, we decided we wanted to see different areas, so we chose the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp and Ongava Reserve outside of Etosha National Park. On our arrival at Hoanib, the camp manager told us our guide would be Chris, a recent addition to their staff who had moved over from another property. At 3:00 we gathered to head out on our first game drive, and saw none other than our fabulous guide from two years previous, Chris from Caprivi. Almost as far away from home as I could get, and there was a familiar face.
During our stay in Damaraland, the one thing Chris was absolutely determined to find us was the desert adapted elephants. It took until lunchtime, but he finally found them in the the rocky hills. During our stay at Hoanib, Chris was no less determined to find the elephants, but they were much easier to locate. He often said the elephants living near Hoanib were spoiled compared to the ones living in Damaraland.
We had a great time at Hoanib but then it was time to move on. We arrived early afternoon into Etosha and were settled at the lodge with a drink, chatting with the relief manager that was looking after the property. She had introduced herself as Maggie but it took a moment to realize it was the same Maggie we had met 2 years previous at DMC, as her flaming red hair from 2015 had been replaced with a more subdued shade. For the second time in under a week, halfway around the world, I was running into familiar faces. My Mom pulled up a video on her iPad of Maggie and her staff singing a song to us as we departed camp two years earlier, a wonderful memory for all of us to share.
Thinking about these memories makes me wish I had been more inclined to take lots of photos of people during my travels; that’s definitely something I need to do better with in the future. I don’t have a photo of Maggie from this past trip, but we do keep in touch now on Facebook; an unlikely second meeting has turned into a friendship 🙂