A dusty gravel road. Scattered across the landscape are parched thornbushes, arid tufts of grass and dried up acacias.
Small herds of wart hogs in search of sparse roots, an emaciated oryx, the Namibian national animal, stands against a background of barbed wire fences. Above me: blue skies – no clouds – no rain.
Namibia is suffering from one of the greatest droughts the country has ever known, the worst for 90 years. The reason? Climate change.
In Namibia, not just a buzzword, but cruel reality. Small farms and safari lodges, whose main source of income is tourism, are struggling to raise money in a desperate attempt to feed and save their animals. Grazers in particular need supplementary fodder. Due to the severe drought there is no grass left.
As part of my month-long journey to create a photo documentary about Namibia against the background of climate change, I was a guest at Okambara Lodge for a week to witness this impending misery. A farmer and the founder of the Okambara Lodge on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. Christian made his dream come true of a life in Africa when he arrived in Namibia 30 years ago.
The animal-loving farmer is facing a tragedy as his small guest farm will soon be unable to carry the expense since it was founded.
“The zebra, which I rescued from the roadside three years ago, will now have to be put down to save it from starvation. We lack the financial means to buy food because of the drought. Almost nothing grows anymore.”
More than 50 wild horses live on his reserve: animals which he has rescued over the years from malnourishment and severe maltreatment by merciless farmers. “The thought of having to kill the horses hurts terribly.” says Schmitt. .Not only are he and his family and animals affected. The existences of numerous indigenous Namibian families and friends who live and work on the farm are threatened.
Here a few images I shot during my stay on the farm and in this beautiful country. A bittersweet stay which is implemented in my heart forever.