And that makes you my new best friend!
After speaking at the first International Speakers Conference in Windhoek on 25 January, Fredrik Haren was taken on a short Namibian tour by the Professional Speakers Association of Namibia. Here follows his impressions after his first Namibian visit.
By Fredrik Haren
I have a new favourite country: Namibia. If I would sum it up in one slogan it would be: “Namibia: The best of Africa (without the worst of Africa).”
I have been to 70+ countries, but Namibia is now my number one when it comes to countries I am happy I have visited. I hope you will want to go there too after reading this post.
First of all: Namibia has everything you want and expect from visiting Africa: Stunning wildlife, majestic scenery, exotic cultures, friendly people and so on.
In five days I have:
– been on safari in a private game reserve (Erindi) the same size of my home country Singapore (!) – where we saw Elephants, Rhino, Zebras, Giraffes,Crocodiles, Hippos and many other magnificent animals. Many of them we could see at the watering hole next to our villas! Erindi game reserve has 10,000 animals.
– gone into the desert for 4-wheel driving, quad-biking, camel riding and sandboarding (that’s like snow boarding but from a sand dune). I even got to climb the largest sand dune known to man (it’s BIG)
– taken a cruise in the Atlantic and watched dolphins, seals, flamingoes and albatrosses – all within just a few minutes from shore (and if you go out further you can go whale watching too.)
– gone to nice restaurants to eat game cuisine, experienced the cultural city of Swakopmund with its strong German influences, as well as the small friendly city of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.
– even got to deliver two speeches (one at a business conference and one for the amazing people of PSAN – Professional Speakers Association of Namibia.)
I can happily say it has been my best “tourist-as-a-speaker” experience in my life (and I have been on some amazing trips as a speaker.)
Not sold on Namibia yet?
How about this:
– It is a very friendly country where strangers greet you with an genuine smile.
– It is very, very safe (I feel as safe as I would in Singapore or Sweden (which says a lot.) (And it is one of the least corrupt countries in Africa.)
– Namibia is, of course, a country with a lot of poverty, but not the crowded, extreme slums you see in so many African countries.
– The roads are great and there is not a lot of traffic (traffic situation reminds me more of Sweden than of Africa)
– The country is clean – again reminding me more of Sweden than a developing country (sure you see some plastic bottles along the road, but not the crazy amounts of trash flying around in nature as you see in many other countries)
– It is one of the countries with the least racial tension that I have ever visited. After five days here I wish every person afraid of multi-cultural societies would come and visit. Black and white live together in a friendly atmosphere that feels so natural. So human.
(Of course there is racism and racial tension here, I am not naive, I am just comparing it to other countries I have been to and I can not think of a country I have been to (apart from Singapore) where it feels so comfortable to be amongst people of so many cultures. And it is so refreshing, so positive and so hopeful.
– The country feels like it’s made to be a tourism attraction – but without you feeling like you are in a tourism destination. To begin with there are very few tourists here (at least right now, and at least compared to what you would expect from a place like this.) And then the country is so huge and unpopulated that the few tourists are hardly noticed. It’s raw and natural. The opposite of Disneyland. Come to think of it, it’s not a tourist attraction, its just an attractive place to visit.
– It’s one of very few places left on earth where you do not feel like mankind has taken over. Namibia has just 2.99 people per square kilometer (!) (That makes Namibia the 2nd least populated country in the world (after Mongolia). (Singapore has 7,987 (!) people per square km. Sweden has 24…) And that means that nature has not been hammered by mankind like in many other places. And that means that you are, for example, still allowed to drive a 4X4 on a beach (because there are so many beaches and so few 4X4s). It also means you can drive for 4 hours and see a total of about 20 cars and 20 people.
Namibia is a country where mankind has been reduced to just another animal, not the animal who rules the world. And that is such a humbling experience.
Finally, I had the privilege to have some amazing guides from the local speaker association who took care of me in a undescribable genuinely friendly way. In the many, many hours we spent in a car going from one place to the next we talked “speaker shop” and I learnt a lot about speaking, a lot about Africa, about business – and a lot about life.
If you want to copy our trip here are the links to the great hotels we stayed at (My hosts had gone the extra mile to make sure we had great accommodations!)
Good bye Namibia, for now. I will be back. And I next time I am bringing my family!
About Fredrik Haren
Fredrik Haren is an author and keynote speaker on Business Creativity, Change and Global Business. He has delivered 2,000 presentations in over 60 countries on 6 continents. He was voted Speaker of The Year in Sweden as well as selected as one of the “The Best Swedish Speakers Ever”. He is a CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) (one of 700 globally) as well as GSPGlobal (one of only 30 globally).
He is the author of 9 books, including “The Idea Book” which was included in “The 100 Best Business Books of All Time”.
His latest book is called “One World. One Company”. It is a book about what it means to be a Truly Global Company.
Fredrik’s speciality is to be the “Global Conference Speaker”. Fredrik knows how to craft a speech so that, let’s say, an American, a Brazilian, a German and a Chinese all will be inspired and laugh and the same time feel that they walk away from the session with meaningful take-aways that were relevant to them.
Just in 2016 Fredrik spoke at 23 different global (or international conferences), and he was – again, just in 2016 – invited to speak in 23 different countries on 4 continents. Fredrik is a truly global speaker, with examples from all over the world – suitable for your global (or international) conference.