Visiting Damaraland and Spitzkoppe, Namibia
It was the thirtieth day of my amazing African adventure 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 at the present time, we left the spectacular Etosha behind and travelled onward via the desert, to Damaraland and Spitzkoppe. As we departed Etosha we had been lucky sufficient to be greeted by a number 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 mandatory 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 soar).
Starting 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 huge termite mounds, and though they weren’t of a lot curiosity to our Aussie journey pals as a result of they are often seen in Australia too, I discovered them fascinating.
There are 5 varieties of termites:
- The “workers”, who construct the mounds. They are sexually immature, blind, wingless and the smallest of the three.
- The “alates”, who’re winged and don’t have any objective within the group. They merely hatch and fly.
- The “soldiers”, 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 dwelling as much as 30 to 50 years. They are the one ones who lay the eggs and so the way forward for the mound depends 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 can even eat the alate and soldier termites, as they’re filled with protein and are scrumptious when fried, in keeping with our CEO and information Wellington. As effectively as 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 will possibly dwell as much as 2,000 years and grows sideways.
The remaining cease earlier than reaching Damaraland
Our remaining cease earlier than reaching Damaraland was a nationwide monument: Namibia’s Petrified Forest.
Here we had been taught a few phenomenon that started round 280 million years in the past, when the top of the Ice Age precipitated an infinite flood. Trees had been uprooted and ended up in Namibia, the place they had been buried underground and modified type as a result of penetration of minerals attributable to strain. They had change into petrified, which means they had been now bushes product of stone. As a results of erosion, the bushes reached the earth’s floor and had been found by two farmers within the Forties.
Learning concerning the Damara tradition in Damaraland
Once we arrived into Damaraland, we took a tour of the Living Museum to study concerning the misplaced tradition of the Damara folks. Though 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 lads demonstrated their fireplace beginning capacity, which we had been informed was a ability they wanted initially, with a view 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 comparable to 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 searching that is also used for pipe smoking.
Their clothes was constituted of goat leather-based and we noticed a sport they performed for hours and would take very significantly (which I’d seen performed in Zanzibar), referred to as Bao. This can be used to show their youngsters how one can rely within the Khoekhoe language.
A tour of Twyfelfontein
The following day started with a tour of Namibia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Twyfelfontein. Afrikaans for “doubtful fountain”, there’s a spring right here which seldom receives rainfall (therefore the identify), however it’s best identified for its multitude of prehistoric rock engravings.
These had been made through the early Stone Age and depict searching maps, footprints, waterholes and animals, together with giraffes, elephants, ostriches and rhinos. Some of the artists will need to have been nomads as a result of there have been even animals comparable to penguins and seals, which might’ve been discovered elsewhere.
The engravings had been made utilizing quartz stones and had been found in 1921, however it was by no means clear precisely once they had been made, with historians predicting anyplace 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 direction of Spitzkoppe. En route we made a number 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 important supply of revenue. I purchased a good looking bag and we gave the youngsters water. Our CEOs informed us that it was necessary to not give them meals or sweets, as we don’t wish to encourage a begging tradition, we can not give them the identical tomorrow, and they might not be capable to brush their tooth after consuming sweets.
Wellington additionally referred to the saying:
‘give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and 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 help 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 dwelling in northern Namibia.
Wellington informed 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 they make their very own pure hair extensions, solar cream and mosquito repellents. Women should not allowed to make use of water for laundry, as historically there have been many nice droughts and solely the lads had been permitted to make use of this scarce commodity.
Therefore, the ladies used (and nonetheless use) smouldering charcoal which they’d combine with herbs and wash within the smoke produced. Similarly, the lads interact 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 path, as they stand out dramatically from the flat surrounding plains. It was lovely 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.
Just 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.
In the night, we loved one another’s firm across the campfire, singing and stargazing on the unimaginable night time’s sky.
Next up, we ventured to Swakopmund, the place we might be exploring the Namib Desert by board as an alternative of foot.
Thinking about exploring Namibia? Check out the Namibia tours offered by G Adventures – many embrace visiting each Damaraland and Spitzkoppe.