Day 13 –
L: Last night we had a lovely quick and easy braai with chicken kebabs for Steve, Kudu steak and Springbok sausage, Tony and Linda’s olives and a garlic loaf, that someone enjoyed so much that there is none left for “padkos” (an Afrikaans word meaning food (kos) for the road (pad)………We do however have the meat and some brochen, German for bread rolls so we won’t have to stop, and a flask of hot water. We have now finished our little snack store which was so well stocked by Linda and Gary, Les and Trevor, Sharon etc………
I am now sitting at the coffee shop next to the laundry while our bedding is getting done while Steve fills the gas cylinder and buys whatever he can remember from the list…… S: I remembered everything this time …
L: We are off on our drive north today and are reluctant to leave Swakopmund – it has been so chilled here (though also quite chilly), but I must say my “Mc Geyver-ism” worked a treat and we slept so much warmer though Steve will tell you that was because the weather was warmer last night. He was fast asleep and snoring when the wind was howling at 3am and the extra Space Blanket (thanks to Judy and Adam) was snuggly fitted above the mosquito meeting and under the only full layer of nylon at the back of the tent. 1 out of 7 nights in the ground tent when I (we) were warm :-)))
Steve feels that we have covered more ground than we thought and have kept our expenses reasonable, plus stocked up with extra meat, veg etc for the next few days so that is why we had a few treats on the weekend and it was great to not have to cook or think of a few meals, but now I think we are going to be “roughing it” for a week or so. Yes, I know a lot of you feel that we have been roughing it completely for the last 12 days……we shall see.
S: After a quick stop at the Namaqua Meat Market (that kudu steak and game sausage is so lekker) and Spar we were on our way to Henties Bay. As we were leaving I spotted about a dozen BMW GS800 motorbikes, all with Cape Town number plates, parked outside one of the hotels. Wonder what that trip is all about?
It is a salt road the whole way to Henties Bay. When the fog rolls in it can be treacherous with only a little reflective tape on a pole every 60 metres or so to see if you are still on the road. Red on the one side and orange on the other. I travelled this road in the fog, thirty years ago, and it brought back memories. In those days Henties Bay was a small fishing settlement and now it is huge. I cannot believe the difference. We went fishing on the beach then and we drove through the dunes in a VW 1700 Combi with deflated tyres and then proceeded to drive up the beach for a kilometre or two.
All the way along the side of the road are markings put by fisherman so that they can find their way back to their favourite fishing spots. Anything goes, piles of stones, tyres, sticks, plastic bottles, etc. There have been many wrecks along this coast and the only one very visible between Henties Bay and Swakopmund is the Zeila. She looks like a fishing trawler.
The scenery on the way can only be described as lunar landscape. The flat kind though.
As we headed inland after Henties Bay there were these little sand dunes with scrub growing on it dotted all around. We had left Swakop with clouds overhead but after travelling for a while away from the coast we could eventually see a line of clear sky which got larger and larger until we drove out from under the clouds. Really wierd weather. L: Funny Weather!
S: The plan today was to go and see the White Lady bushman painting. We decided to book into a camp site in Uis at a place called the Brandberg White Lady Lodge before setting out to the White Lady start point. On the way we were flagged down by a family of roadside vendors asking for water. It looked like a mother, daughter and grandchild. We stopped and filled there container and Lesley also handed over blankets to the old lady and child. They were very appreciative. We then carried on to the heritage site.
The place is supposed to close at 16H00 and we got there at 14H15 to start a 2 hour hike. So we were already under the clock. To make sure you do not damage anything or lose your way there is a compulsory guide that takes you to the white lady. The hike would have been enjoyable if we were not in such a rush and did not feel we were holding up the guide. It was also quite hot even though it was late in the day. The walk up through the valley next to a river was not too bad but we did it rather fast.
There were a lot of huge tadpoles transitioning into frogs and a lot of frogs no more than a centimetre long hopping around.
At the end of the 2,5 km hike there is a bit of a climb to get to the art. I left Lesley in the shade of a huge tree and followed the guide up the mountain. I must admit it was a bit of a letdown. The White Lady painting is no more than 20cm high and is nothing spectacular. (Maybe I just don’t appreciate bushman art) We have seen far better collections in the Drakensberg and other places. So I told Lesley to not waste her time and took the photos to show her what she had ‘missed’.
Then it was back down again. We were about 30 minutes into our return trip when we passed another group still going up. So the 16H00 cut off time was not cast in stone. That took the pressure off a bit but we still did the round trip in 2 hours with Lesley taking a bit of strain. L: A lot of strain, boulder-hopping is real scarey with my dud ankles…..
Bed can’t come soon enough, phew!!
Day 14 –
S: I am sitting in the grounds of the iGowati Country Hotel at our camp site, in Khorixas, after having had a lunch of kudu steak with basmati rice and mushroom sauce, cooked under supervision of course. The rice was leftovers and the mushroom sauce was tinned mushroom soup, but my oh my did it go down well.
We started out this morning from Brandberg White Lady lodge in Uis with it’s cold showers, no electricity and rowdy neighbours, glad to see the back of the place.
The plan today was to go and see the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein and then on to the petrified forest and camping at Twyfelfontein lodge. It did not quite work out that way. We decided to go to the lodge first and grab a camping place so that we could hang up our still wet washing from the previous night. Only problem was there was no camping at the lodge, but I was sure I had read there was somewhere on the internet. The bonus was that right in front of the main building were huge rocks with picture engravings on them. So we did not have to drive a further 10+km and pay to see them at the official heritage site.
Twyfelfontein Lodge is a really lovely place and it would have been nice to spend a night there but N$1008 for a double room equates to 5 nights camping so we withstood the temptation and moved on, but not before taking the necessary photos. L: That was a night for two plus dinner and breakfast so it does not sound too bad for most travellers….S: We then set off to find the petrified trees. There are quite a few unofficial petrified forest enterprises along the road but we opted to stick to the official NWR one. The route took us back towards Khorixas which is how we ended up camping here.
This time the guide we got actually gave us a lot of information about the welwitchias, some trees and the fossilised trees as we did an 800m round walk.
One of the interesting things we saw was a tree that was more than 30 metres long. They do not know exactly as some of it is still buried.
The whole experience seemed worth the N$100 we paid. N$40 p/p and N$20 for the car parking. I suppose that is one way the car guard is guaranteed a tip.
iGowati Country Hotel camp site has nice shade, grass and electricity. We have the only site with our own private washing area and bathroom all for the grand price of N$100 p/p. L: So nice to “uit-pak” a bit, unpack and de-dust cos there is sooooo much of this red dust that gets in to the bakkie, thankfully not the cab part though.
Free firewood means a good fire tonight and some fish on the braai for a change. Yummy.