vendredi 19 mai 2017

Namibia, Day 7, Friday, 21 April 2017. Swakopmund to Camp Kipwe in Damaraland

Another long day of African massage ahead, that's the way it goes, if you want to see something you have to get there!
At 11:30 we had a pit stop at a very nice little restaurant with friendly ladies. The group decided that they would pay out of their pocket to eat there instead of our lunch boxes. We were visited by a group of Himba women... a very costly photo op.
On the way we distributed the lunch boxes to several children and artisans selling stuff on the roadside. They were very happy, a win-win situation.
The landscape is very rugged, gravel plains alternate with mountains. Small spiky bushes and some succulent plants dot the landscape. I haven't seen any cacti.
We stopped at Twyfelfontein, the first UNESCO world heritage site in Namibia, which features ancient rock carvings (petroglyphs). This site has been inhabited by the San Bushmen and the Khoikhoi hunters and gatherers since 6000 years. They made the petroglyphs from 2500 to 2000 and probably used the site for shamanic rituals.
The animals were beautifully done and the setting grandiose. I have read several books of Sir Laurens Van Der Post, such as "The Lost World of the Kalahari", they are wonderful books and helped me to imagine the gatherings of the Bushmen.
And then we arrived at the most beautiful lodge of the trip; Camp Kipwe. Since receiving the Gate 1 brochure, I have been dreaming about Kipwe. Every room is a round house with a patio. The bathroom is in an adjacent courtyard with no roof. That means the most inspiring night pee under the most spectacular sky you can imagine. No light pollution and very clear air; fabulous. The  water is heated with a stove outside the walls. All the buildings are very ingeniously built between the rocks .
At sundown we were invited to climb to the top rock for a drink (quite a clim, Bill counted 100 steps). From the terrace you have a 360 view. Due to more rain than usual, the grass is still green, with long silvery  tops, the earth is red and ocre and the sun has its own palette.
All this with good company and wine, it doesn't get any better.

Swakopmund to Damarland, 354km, 860m rise
 Driving inland
 One of many shipwrecks on the Skeleton coast
Arriving at Uis... note the mine slag heaps in the background
Google Earth view of Uis and its open mines
Nice restaurant
Quite a place
We decided to pay for our lunch 
A costly photo op with a group of Himba women
We stop to give out our box lunches
 More box lunches given out at an artisan site
 Beautifully dressed ladies and smiling kids
 We're climbing inland
 A UNESCO World heritage site
 Very steep terrain
A natural rock carving
 With our local guide on the way to the petroglyphs
 Very steep
 One of many carved stones
 The carvings are very descriptive
 Oryx, giraffes... and the carver's footprints
 We're all captivated
 A whole collection of animals... 
Note the lion with 5-toed paws
 Rainbow and other spectacular colours
 Like a painting
 Arriving at Camp Kipwe
 Earth View showing the cabins in the middle of the rocks
 Very friendly welcome
 Our spacious room...
 With the outdoors bathroom
 Rocks and cabins
 On the top rock for cocktails and sunset
... and fire
100 steps to climb down

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