We camped 2 nights at Henties, the fisherman’s paradise. The town was full of bakkies with extremely long fishing rods mounted vertically in front of their bumpers. They were catching some good ones, seems there was a lot of kabeljou as it featured for catch of the day!
First day we went off to see Cape Cross and the seal reserve. That was very smelly and interesting, loads of seals and their pups. The stone in front of the Cape Cross read –“In the year 6685. After the creation of the world and 1485 after the birth of Christ, the brilliant, far-sighted King John II of Portugal ordered Diago Cao, knight of his court, to discover this land and to erect this padrao here”. From there we took a turn through the desert following the GPS to the Messum Crater, a long bumpy desert drive, the road often being any place you chose to make it. The crater was vast, about 22km in diameter, on the route out we followed a riverbed through the desert. The river banks were high and full of stony columns that looked out at you like a bunch of petrified people. We found a Welwitschia forest, obviously a well kept secret as no map or GPS would have told you that. Welwitschia plants are thousands of years old and their roots can grow to a depth of 1000m. So there was a sense of history that day, from our early explorers to the plants and stony statues looking out over us from the river banks.
Pushing on through Uis, an old copper town, we arrived at the Brandberg White Lady Lodge and campsite. Rivers rise and fall fast here, arriving we nearly got stuck but the next day it was bone dry. This is a popular spot, beautifully situated and famous for the “desert” elephants (in a lush green mountainous place) which occasionally march over the lodge walls and trash their pools. The humidity there was heavy and afternoons became stormy relieving it a bit.
On the way out we rescued another tourist stuck in deep sand then went on see the White lady bushman painting - not at all what one might think. The white lady was actually a witchdoctor who looked white with all his sweat and the white sand that stuck on him from his frantic dancing. Bushman paintings are very prolific in this area, the guide said there are over 45000 images in over 900 sites!
Next we went to Twyfelfontein, this area is famous for the many (over 2000) bushman engravings and the petrified forest. Human figures are rarely seen in the engraving but the animals sometimes have human legs, or their feet look like the spoor rather than a hoof or paw. We took a guided tour and were shown a great number of engravings all at one site. Other sites in the area included the Burnt Mountain and the Organ pipes which we passed quickly through. The petrified forest was last, these trees supposedly millions of years ago were swept along by rivers in flood, covered later by sediments and subsequently uncovered by erosion. The trees were heavy like rock but looked like wood.
Palmwag was the next stop, we thought this might be a town but seems it is only a petrol station! We are wondering now how many “towns” north are going to be like this. We had to settle for tasteless white bread made by the lodge at R40 a loaf! Palmwag was a nice break, we did nothing all day but laundry, reading and swimming. We had good company, a humorous Scotsman in his 60’s who played the bango with his 6 foot plus Canadian wife of 11 weeks.
From Palmwag we went onto Sesfontein and what should have been an easy journey turned out to be an adventure of note.