It was the thirtieth day of my superb African journey and I couldn’t consider I had been driving round this continent for a month now! After visiting so many superb locations already, subsequent up was visiting Damaraland and Spitzkoppe.
On today, we left the spectacular Etosha behind and travelled onward by means of the desert, to Damaraland and Spitzkoppe. As we departed Etosha we had been lucky sufficient to be greeted by a couple of extra animals, waving us off on our journey. We noticed a male lion, with two extra far off within the distance (binoculars had been essential at this level!), some ostriches, zebras and giraffes.
Visiting Damaraland and Spitzkoppe was a part of the Serengeti, Falls & Cape Town Overland: Sunsets & Safaris tour with G Adventures.
We even witnessed some springbok “spronking” (a comical four-legged bounce).
Beginning the journey to Damaraland and Spitzkoppe
Our journey was a bumpy one, and with 70% of Namibian roads being dusty and uneven, we wouldn’t return to paved roads till we reached South Africa. We stopped off to see some monumental termite mounds, and though they weren’t of a lot curiosity to our Aussie journey buddies as a result of they are often seen in Australia too, I discovered them fascinating.
There are 5 sorts of termites:
- The “employees”, who construct the mounds. They’re sexually immature, blind, wingless and the smallest of the three.
- The “alates”, who’re winged and don’t have any function within the group. They merely hatch and fly.
- The “troopers”, who shield the mound, have sharp jaws and defend their colony.
- The “queen”, who has the longest lifespan of any insect on the planet, with some queens reportedly residing as much as 30 to 50 years. They’re the one ones who lay the eggs and so the way forward for the mound is dependent upon them. If the queen does die although, her daughter can take over.
- The “king”, who mates with the queen for all times and fertilizes the eggs.
All termite mounds in Africa lean to the west due to the solar and the wind, there are 3,100 species of termites and tens of millions dwell in every mound. Aardvarks and different animals assault termites for meals and the native folks will even eat the alate and soldier termites, as they’re filled with protein and are scrumptious when fried, in accordance with our CEO and information Wellington. In addition to a meals supply, the locals use the soil from the mounds to construct homes.
We additionally noticed the nationwide plant of Namibia, Welwitschia mirabilis. Endemic to the Namib Desert, it could actually dwell as much as 2,000 years and grows sideways.
The ultimate cease earlier than reaching Damaraland
Our ultimate cease earlier than reaching Damaraland was a nationwide monument: Namibia’s Petrified Forest.
Right here we had been taught a few phenomenon that started round 280 million years in the past, when the tip of the Ice Age precipitated an unlimited flood. Bushes had been uprooted and ended up in Namibia, the place they had been buried underground and adjusted kind as a result of penetration of minerals attributable to strain. That they had grow to be petrified, that means they had been now bushes manufactured from stone. On account of erosion, the bushes reached the earth’s floor and had been found by two farmers within the Nineteen Forties.
Studying concerning the Damara tradition in Damaraland
As soon as we arrived into Damaraland, we took a tour of the Dwelling Museum to be taught concerning the misplaced tradition of the Damara folks. Although they not dwell within the conventional method, the tour goals to maintain the tradition alive for future generations. We watched singing and dancing and the boys demonstrated their fireplace beginning potential, which we had been advised was a talent they wanted initially, with a purpose to impress a girl into turning into their spouse. We additionally entered the ladies’s workshop, the place they had been creating jewellery and knickknacks out of supplies reminiscent of ostrich egg shells, seeds and porcupine spikes.
We learnt concerning the conventional medicines and the Damara peoples’ resourcefulness of their creation of instruments. For instance, they’d use springbok horns to make weaponry for looking that is also used for pipe smoking.
Their clothes was made out of goat leather-based and we noticed a sport they performed for hours and would take very severely (which I’d seen performed in Zanzibar), known as Bao. This is able to be used to show their youngsters learn how to depend within the Khoekhoe language.
A tour of Twyfelfontein
The next day started with a tour of Namibia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Website, Twyfelfontein. Afrikaans for “uncertain fountain”, there’s a spring right here which seldom receives rainfall (therefore the identify), however it’s best recognized for its multitude of prehistoric rock engravings.
These had been made in the course of the early Stone Age and depict looking maps, footprints, waterholes and animals, together with giraffes, elephants, ostriches and rhinos. A number of the artists should have been nomads as a result of there have been even animals reminiscent of penguins and seals, which might’ve been discovered elsewhere.
The engravings had been made utilizing quartz stones and had been found in 1921, nevertheless it was by no means clear precisely once they had been made, with historians predicting wherever between two to 6 thousand years in the past. Thought to have been the work of Bushmen or Nama artists, there are greater than 2,500 rock carvings and work within the space.
From Damaraland to Spitzkoppe
It was now time to go away Damaraland and journey south in the direction of Spitzkoppe. En route we made a couple of pit stops and the primary of which was at a village populated by Herero folks.
We had been inspired to discover their markets, as vacationers shopping for their handmade wares was their primary supply of earnings. I purchased a lovely bag and we gave the kids water. Our CEOs advised us that it was necessary to not give them meals or sweets, as we don’t wish to encourage a begging tradition, we can’t give them the identical tomorrow, and so they might not have the ability to brush their tooth after consuming sweets.
Wellington additionally referred to the saying:
‘give a person a fish, and also you feed him for a day. Educate a person to fish, and also you feed him for a lifetime’.
This phrase stayed with me and is one thing that it appears G Adventures really feel strongly about as a result of they assist so many worthwhile enterprises which do precisely this.
We handed Brandberg Mountain, which at 2,573 metres, is Namibia’s tallest mountain. We additionally stopped to satisfy some Himba folks, who’re indigenous and have an estimated inhabitants of round 50,000 residing in northern Namibia.
Wellington advised us some details about this fascinating group, whose ancestors will be traced again to the early sixteenth century. They perform organized marriages from the age of 10 and their notion of wealth is mirrored within the variety of cows that they personal.
They put on particular contraptions round their ankles to guard them from snake bites and so they make their very own pure hair extensions, solar cream and mosquito repellents. Ladies should not allowed to make use of water for laundry, as historically there have been many nice droughts and solely the boys had been permitted to make use of this scarce commodity.
Subsequently, the ladies used (and nonetheless use) smouldering charcoal which they’d combine with herbs and wash within the smoke produced. Equally, the boys have interaction in polygamy however the girls are forbidden from doing so.
Arriving in Spitzkoppe
As we arrived into Spitzkoppe we seen its many granite peaks in what appeared like each route, as they stand out dramatically from the flat surrounding plains. It was stunning to stroll round this almost-700-million-year-old space, and we spent the remainder of the day climbing and exploring the breathtaking landscapes within the Namib Desert.
Simply earlier than the solar set, we clambered up one of many peaks and watched from above, listening to the chicken music and gazing on the pure magnificence round us.
Within the night, we loved one another’s firm across the campfire, singing and stargazing on the unbelievable night time’s sky.
Subsequent up, we ventured to Swakopmund, the place we might be exploring the Namib Desert by board as a substitute of foot.
Fascinated by exploring Namibia? Try the Namibia tours offered by G Adventures – many embody visiting each Damaraland and Spitzkoppe.