When I last posted, we were heading up to a guest house in Twyfelfontein for a couple of nights.
It was a long drive, and at first it seemed weird to be heading out of town again. We passed the local prison, and some sort of ‘research facility’ and then it was onto another gravel road through another scrubby desert type landscape.
We headed inland and stopped in the middle of nowhere to do a bit of gem hunting and picked up some nice quartz crystals. You can see how absolutely desolate the area is ; the car is parked on the actual road, rocks on one side, telephone poles on the other!
One of the great things about driving around Namibia is that the landscape changes so quickly, so very soon we were driving through scrubland, then through some little hills , then near some mountains, and back to flat land again but with some bigger, widely spaced trees. There were a lot of small farms, and herds of cows and goats wandering around between the trees. And there were these amazing rock formations of large boulders all stacked up on a large mound, looking ready to roll at any moment.
You can see that the local don’t worry about the possibility of one of the rocks rolling off too much, they build their homes right beside them.
It took us about 4 hours to get to Twyfelfontein Country Lodge, which was to be our home for the next couple of nights. This is an amazing place in a stunning location, but was a lot bigger than the rest of the places we stayed at. The Lodge is set against the rocks, on the edge of a large, flat plain. We had a couple of rooms of 3, next door to each other which faced the east so we could peek out the curtains and watch the sun rise. There was also a large communal area that housed the bar, reception and the restaurant where we had breakfast and dinner.
There is quite a bit to do around the area. The first day we got there, we drove out to see Burnt Mountain, and the Organ Pipes- an unusual rock formation. The rocks were more interesting than the Mountain, which was supposed to look like it was ‘on fire’ but instead, just looked scorched.
There are also several examples of ancient rock engravings and paintings around the area, but most of them involved an hours trek into the bush, which didn’t sound much fun with a stroppy 4 year old in tow. So we settled for the fine examples that were conveniently on site for the Lodge.
You can clearly see giraffe, zebra and an ostrich in this photo of the cave paintings. These paintings are thought to be 6000 years old and we thought they were very similar to the ones we saw of camels in Jordan during Easter.
We did go out on a ‘safari’ in one of the Lodge’s vehicles to search for the Desert Adapted Elephants. One of the pieces of advice I was given before we headed off to Namibia was to get a sports bra to wear when I was on safari. I can report that this is good advice; those vehicles are very bouncy.
We got to see a herd of Desert Adapted elephant as a result of the game drive, though. These African Elephants are smaller than the ‘normal’ African elephant, have larger feet for walking on sand and grow smaller, more brittle tusks because of their restricted diet. The first elephant we saw was on the top of a hill, so our driver took us around the back of it to look for the rest of the herd. In the meantime, the whole herd popped over the crest so when we retraced our steps we had a lovely surprise when we found them blocking our way, happily munching on every tree they came across.
We sat there for almost an hour, watching these huge vegetarians enjoy their lunch. Then we followed a mum with a small calf for a bit, in order to get a decent photo of the baby. Its sisters and aunts were with it too and all four older animals surrounded it for much of the time, making it very hard to get a photo of it on its own.
But we persevered, and in the end managed to get a pretty clear shot. Then it was time to get back in the vehicle until we were clear of the elephants, when we stopped for a cold drink and to let the kids run around and chase lizards for a bit.
That day, when we got back to the lodge, it was hot enough for the kids to get into the pool. Every place we stayed at had a pool but they were all unheated, and it’s now winter in Southern Africa, they were all too cold. Finally, in Twyfelfontein, the temperatures were edging into the mid thirties and the pool water was just bearable. The kids splashed and ohhed and ahhed, while I stalked the resident lizards, rock hyraxes and giant rat.
Then, when the sun went behind the restaurant, the kids dragged their towel out onto the driveway in front of our rooms for a spot of sunbathing.
After two nights here, it was time to pack up and get back on the road again. Our next destination was the highlight of our trip; Etosha National Park.
We were finally off on safari.