Posted by Elizabeth at 11:53 am
Apr 252011

The owner at Sophia Dale let us use their internet connection before we left without charging us for it, which was really nice of him and allowed me to get some posts up to date.

SpitzkoppeWe had an easy drive to Spitzkoppe where we camped last night and again tonight. The camp is community run and the sites are scattered throughout the area in between the huge rocks. We are staying at site 9 which is sheltered from the wind and has a reasonably level spot to park the car so we aren’t sliding out of bed.

Last night we had our first bush shower as there are no amenities unless you want to drive a couple of kilometres back to the gate. It was pretty luxurious really as we have a hot water Spitzkoppeunit with a shower handle attached to it, and whilst we have to be quick to save water, it definitely makes you feel much cleaner.

Last night whilst we were eating dinner we had a Spotted Genet walk about 3 metres from where we were sitting. It is only small like a cat, but neither of us had seen one before so it was pretty cool. There are also lots of colourful lizards running around on the rocks.

The rocks around the area are large and red and quite scenic. It is popular with climbers as there are some vertical rock faces for them.

Today we are having a rest day at Spitzkoppe, allowing us to catch up on some washing, clean out the car and let it dry out (I think the tap for the water tank got opened a little whilst we were driving over some really rough Spitzkopperoads the other day and the carpet is now quite wet and makes the whole car stink).Spitzkoppe

We will head off to the Skeleton Coast tomorrow.

Skeleton Coast

 Posted by Elizabeth at 4:16 pm
Apr 262011

We left Spitzkoppe reasonably early and headed back towards the coast. What a surprise, but 80km from the coast we hit the inevitable thick grey mist again! At least today we only got stuck in it whilst we were inland and our drive up the coast was not completely invisible. We thought the landscape could not get any more barren, desolate and inhospitable than what we had encountered near Swakopmund, yet most of today we travelled up the Skeleton Coast which was even worse.

We stopped off at the Cape Cross Seal Reserve. It is estimated there are 100,000 seals here (yes 100,000!) and it smells like it. (Girls, imagine the worst smelling market we have visited and multiply it by about 1000 and that is how bad it smelt). It was definitely mouth breathing only and even then I nearly threw up a couple of times it was that foul. The smell aside though, it was a pretty awesome sight seeing so many seals crammed together in the ocean and on the beach. There were also some pups around feeding from their mothers.

Cape Cross Seal ReserveCape Cross Seal ReserveCape Cross Seal Reserve

Skeleton Coast ParkWe drove along the Skeleton Coast, passing salt pans and a couple of shipwrecks and some abandoned mining gear. There were no animals or grass to be seen and the only humans were the few tourists. Early on we came across a bogged vehicle but they managed to get out just as we walked up, and we managed to get through just fine.



Skeleton CoastSkeleton Coast ParkSkeleton Coast Park

About 40km from the coast we exited the Skeleton Coast Park and suddMowani Mountain Campenly the landscape changed. There was grass and trees and hills and animals again! We saw more Springbok as we headed towards Twyfelfontein where we stayed the night at Mowani Mountain Camp. They cater mainly for lodge guests, but have 3 campsites, each with their own long drop toilet and cold outside shower (we opted to use our own so it was hot!), washing up facilities, water and are quite separate from each other. It was great value at only $N100 ($14).


 Posted by Elizabeth at 4:36 pm
Apr 272011

Rock engravings, TwyfelfonteinToday we visited the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein, the Petrified Forest, Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes. The rock engravings were really interesting. They believe they are between 2000 and 6000 years old and were done by the San Bushmen as a means of communicating to other tribes. The engravings are all of animals and their footprints rather than people. There engravings of seals and penguins which means the San people must have travelled inland from the coast which is over 100km away.Burnt Mountain

Burnt Mountain looks to me just like a heap of gravel rubbish dumped beside the road from roadworks, but I guess everyone sees things differently.

Organ pipesThe Organ Pipes are a bit of an oddity. They are rocks that have formed into tall, split pieces of rocks that resemble organ pipes.

The Petrified Forest was simple,Petrified Forest but to see the trees was pretty cool. They still look like fallen trees, bark and all, yet they have turned into stone. They apparently travelled here from central Africa during floods. The guide here was pretty unenthusiastic, unlike our guide at the rock engravings unfortunately as I am sure we could have learnt a bit more about the place, but it was worth a look.

We left the area and headed towards Palmwag where we got our first puncture about 20 minutes from where we were staying. No big deal and easily fixed, but annoying to have to get the jack off the roof and change the tyre. We were lucky though that it happened on a nice flat piece of road and that we realised earlier that we didn’t have a wheel brace with us and bought one. The hi-lift jack though decided that it didn’t want to go down so we had to kick it out of place (not so good).

We stayed the night at the Palmwag Lodge camp. The camp is quite expensive compared to other places, although we did get a site to ourselves with our own shower and toilet. I do not think though it is worth the money unless you need somewhere where you can eat in the restaurant.                          

To Opuwo

 Posted by Elizabeth at 5:14 pm
Apr 282011

near PalmwagWe left Palmwag this morning and headed north to Opuwo, our last chance to fuel up and stock up on food and water for our trip north over the next 5 or so days. On the way we saw our first giraffes of the trip (my favourite animals), some squirrels and some zebras in the distance. We crossed heaps of riverbeds, both with and without water in them, but none had more than 20-30cm of water in them.

Opuwo is a strange place. Walking through town you have people who have adopted western dress walking down the street with people in traditional Herero dress, which is like stepping back to Victorian times in their long full gowns and headwear. There are also traditional Himbas in their animal skirts and bare breasted.

Herero woman, OpuwoHimba, OpuwoHerero woman, Opuwo

OpuwoWe are staying tonight at the Camp at Opuwo Country Hotel. It is very posh with a lovely infinity pool, bar and restaurant. Opuwo Country Hotel

Tomorrow we head off north for about 5 days to Epupa Falls and to tackle the Van Zyls Pass. Wish us luck!

Epupa Falls

 Posted by Elizabeth at 12:44 pm
Apr 302011

The road to Epupa Falls was far better than expected. There were lots of gullies in the road, very small water crossings that required us to slow down and a little bit of mud, but the road itself was in good condition. We are very much in Himba country now.

Epupa Falls CampWe are staying at the community run Epupa Falls campsite for 2 nights which is situated literally on the river right at the falls. Our campsite is on the river’s edge and we are sitting about 10m from it and about 200m from Angola. The river is about 20cm below ground level, so it is pretty full. The sound of the water rushing over the edge is quite loud, but it means you can’t hear any of the other campers even if they are close, so it is quite good. Our site is very shady and pleasant. There are showers and toilets however they don’t heat the water until May, so we had our first cold shower, but it wasn’t so bad as it is quite hot hereEpupa Falls.

The falls themselves are pretty impressive. There is an awful lot of water coming from somewhere to spill at such a rate over them. There are a number of falls flowing at speed where we are. In the picture, our camp is just at the top of the falls.

This morning we visited a Himba village with just ourselves and a guide. The guide organises food supplies to take with you as a gift such as maize, oil and salt. It was very interesting. They really live the way you see them on documentaries on TV. They live in small mud huts, get milk from their goats and cows and dress in animal skins. The women coat themselves with a mixture of ochre and cow fat every day once they turn 16. They adorn themselves with jewellery around their necks, wrists and ankles and wear decorated belts. They still live an extremely simple life relying mainly on the land around them for survival. There was very little sign of the western world in their village, just a couple of plastic buckets and a metal spoon was about all I saw. The rest was either skins or containers made from trees or plants.

Himba Village visit, EpupaHimba Village visit, EpupaHimba Village visit, EpupaHimba Village visit, EpupaHimba Village visit, EpupaHimba Village visit, EpupaHimba Village visit, Epupa

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