Category: Namibi, 2015

Off to the Coast, Cave Carvings and Paintings, Chameleons and Shipwrecks

April 29.  We are a bit sad to be leaving the Mowani  Mountain Camp today, because it ranks right near the top of all the places we’ve stayed in the world (and we’ve stayed at some pretty spectacular places).  After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to visit the nearby attractions and geological sites of Twyfelfontein rock engravings (recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes.

Twyfelfontein: Strewn over a hillside among flat-topped mountains of red sandstone, Twyfelfontein’s boulders and slabs of red sandstone hold some 2,500 prehistoric engravings that depict wildlife, animal spoor and abstract motifs. It is perhaps the largest and finest collection of petroglyphs in Africa. The engravings show animals such as elephant, giraffe, kudu, lion, rhinoceros, springbok, zebra, and ostrich that once used to drink from a spring at the bottom of the hill. In some cases footprints were engraved instead of hooves or paws. The abstract motifs feature mainly circles. Stone tools and other artifacts found at Twyfelfontein suggest that hunter-gatherers occupied the site over a period of perhaps 7,000 years. These days a local guide accompanies visitors to visit the rock art. The engravings lie along two circular routes, one an hour’s climb and the other 40 minutes longer. Twyfelfontein is one of Namibia’s key National Monuments and has recently become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Because my knee has bothered me off and on, I decide not to do the full climb, but got enough of a taste to satisfy me.  Carol did the full hike, and enjoyed it. 

Organ Pipes: The Organ Pipes are another geological curiosity in the area consisting of a mass of perpendicular dolerite columns that intruded the surrounding rocks also about 125 million years ago and have been exposed in a ravine due to river erosion.

We then drive south via the Herero markets near the town of Uis on the way to Swakopmund. We stop along the way for a picnic lunch, to see a chameleon one of the guides spotted along the way and to walk on the beach and photograph a shipwreck, arriving in Swakopmund around 5PM.   

Swakopmund resembles a small, German coastal resort nestled between the desert and the sea. It boasts a charming combination of German colonial architecture blended with good hotels, shops, restaurants, museums, craft centers, galleries and cafés. Swakopmund had its beginnings as a landing station in 1892 when the German Reich erected the first building, a barracks for troops on the site. The advent of World War I halted developments and the town sank into decline until half a century later when infrastructures improved and an asphalt road opened between Windhoek and Swakopmund.. 

A timeless classic forming part of Swakopmund’s architectural culture is the grand Hansa Hotel, dating back to 1905. Conveniently located in the center of town, the Hansa Hotel is within easy walking distance to the waterfront, shops, cafes, the aquarium, Crystal Gallery and other attractions.  Carol and I have a lovely suite at the hotel.  After acouple hours of relaxing/showering/email/blogging, we walk to a seafood restaurant housed in an old boat.  Dinner is okay, but not up to the level of what we’ve been getting.  And the same might be said of the overall day.  But the not every day can be fabulous.

We are told that we probably will not have wifi for the next three days, so there will be a bit of a drought on the blog.  

1 comment to Off to the Coast, Cave Carvings and Paintings, Chameleons and Shipwrecks

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>