We are now up in a rural, sparsely inhabited place in northwest Namibia…the town of Uis. It is at the base of Brandberg Mountain, that has the tallest summit in the country. We’re here to hike and explore some of the ancient rock painting art found in the hills here. We’re camping at Brandberg Rest camp where they have wi-fi in the 1950’s era lodge.
We had yet another bone jarring drive across 230 kilometres of main highway (translate to somewhat graded gravel road), after two busy days in the Atlantic coast town of Swakopmund and surrounds. PInk flamingos, in Walvis Bay, galleries, arts and crafts centre, half a day sandboarding on the dunes outside of town!!! Yes…sandboarding…you use snowboarding gear but you do it on the sand. I actually did it! Amazing experience. Zara loved it too.
The days before arriving on the coast were spent in an otherwordly place of the tallest red sand dunes on earth. An area called Sossusvlei. I canhardly put into words what it felt like to be there. It is called the “fog desert” because of the strange sandy haze that acan hang in the air and makes the most amazing atmosphere and range of colors on the dunes and the valley below. We were up at dark, before the sun rose each day to drive into the park and hike the dunes as the sun came up. BAck to camp to hang out for a few hours in the early afternoon and then back into the dunes for the late afternoonn light and sunset. We pushed our time on a hike way into the park….with a 45 minute drive ahead of us to make it to the gate by 6:15. We had to capture the last light….drove as dusk settled in the valley and made it to the gate to find it locked. One car in front of us and one came behind and we had to find the keeper and plead and apologize while
he chastized us for not respecting the Namibian government. He gave us a hard time, but I think he was enjoying watching us squirm a bit.
The owner of the lodge and campsite just turned off the lights, so it’s time for me to call it a day too.
signing off from Namibia…
Finally…I have internet that should work! Posting has been a spotty endeavor as some of you may have noticed! I’m in the town of Swakopmund tonight, on the Atlantic Ocean….west coast of Africa.
Wow! From the minute we landed in the capitol city of Windhoek,,,and even before; My senses have been piqued and I have been listening to different languages, eating different foods, tuned in to unique smells, ways that the different people live, traveled from the busy city through vast expanses of rural and wild, uninhabited land. We spent two weeks in a 4×4 “baakie” (outback pick up), with roof tents. Namibia has an amazing camping culture….many people go out to explore this way…with travelers from South Africa and Zimbabwe and Europe and the US. We headed north to a cheetah preserve, on into Etosha National Park with truly amazing experiences, viewing rhinos, giraffes, elephants, kudu, springbok, eland, lions, (I didn’t see them!), and the birds….colors and sounds of impossible variety. I have been mezmorized by the whooshing by of villages, people walking, walking, walking and beautiful trees blurred by our travel on the highway. My camera is almost always in my hand; at the ready to capture what I’m seeing and feeling…whether I’m on foot or in the pickup. My sketchbook is filling up with images; places, objects, people, animals, notes, colors, landforms…my pencil an extension of my perceptions and perspectives of this country. All the way to the northern border town of Rundu, we camped across the Kavango river from Angola, hearing the sounds of people talking, singing, playing music all night long. Surreal. To the east; camping at Ngepi Camp spending the next two days exploring the Bwabwata National Patk and Mahango Nat’l Park…where we were charged in our vehicle by a mother elephant protecting her baby. We accelerated and got away down the dirt road; sailing past the park entrance with the attendant waving us on…she could hear what was happening and didn’t want us to bring the angry elephant to the park office!! We crossed into Botswana and traveled for several days through the western Okavango River delta. Another world was revealed to us…boating through narrow channels lined with reeds and tall papyrus grass….seeing, hearing and learning about the hippos who inhabit the marshes and rivers. Crocodile and bird sightings punctuated the days…hippos came into our campsite at night to graze on the grass!! I made sure I was up the ladder into my roof tent before they showed up, but I could hear them tearing and munching the grass, befoe ai fell asleep! Another night was spent in the Kalahari desert near a San village and a wonderful San man came to our campfire and told us traditional stories under a full moon. I will stop for tonight and try to post again soon. Our time is speeding along and we are a week away from leaving this vast, amazing land on the African continent. It has touched my soul and senses and I realize that I’m just scratching the surface, but I have it’s dirt and sand under my fingernails and it’s wind and sun have filtered into my pores. The calls snd sounds of the magnificent animals have resonated in my gut and recorded in my memory. I’ve touched and tasted the Atlantic ocean from the Namibian shore. Best of all, I have images imprinted in my mind and drawn into my sketchbook and captured on my camera’s memory cards. Until my next encounter with good internet…thanks for looking and reading.