After our night stop along the road we drove the last few km’s to Twyfelfontein and got ourselves a guide who took us on an hours walk to see the rock engravings of this World Heritage Site. Seeing the number of well preserved carvings on just this short walk, one can only imagine what wealth of images and carvings are hidden in the greater Twyfelfontein Conservancy.
Where the White Lady rock art had been paintings, these images were carvings scratched out in the rockfaces. Besides the carvings of the various animals, we were fascinated by our guide’s explanation about the significance and differences between the images of the various waterhole carvings (bottom photo) which he happily compared to our human waterholes: which pub would you recommend for what reason! Another captivating carving showed spoor, over and above the traditional animal images, and even human footprints were part of the carving (3rd row of pics).
Seeing how several of the rock faces and boulders were lying around in haphazardly fashion we could only imagine how these rocks had been moved around with any natural upheaval and shifting of the land. Someone in our little walking group just wondered aloud how many images and carvings might still be hidden, where rocks had not (yet) been displaced by natural movements of the earth.
The Twyfelfontein visitor centre was interesting in its own right. They call it a reversable building: a building that incorporates as much as possible natural and recycled materials, in line with the principles of the Icomos Charter for Places of Cultural Significance. It means that any given day the building could hypothetically be taken apart and not leave a lasting footprint.
As it was heritage week we couldn’t miss an opportunity to take photographs with the staff in their colourful attire.
We left the friendly staff at Twyfelfontein and, via the ever dry and rocky desert landscape, found our way to the Organ Pipes and Burnt Mountain. The staff of Twyfelfontein had also taken photos with their cell phones and sms’d them to the team at the Organ Pipes reception. When we arrived, we were greeted like old friends and the lady showed us the photo their friends had just sent!
We paid our fees and went for a short stroll to the Organ Pipes: quirky and cool, with the vertical rock pipes rising up from the river bed. It isn’t very expansive so after about 20 – 30 minutes we moved on to Burnt Mountain, a bit further up the road.
At Burnt Mountain there is no walk-about option. There is a crescent parking area and you can get out, but you cannot go walking around on the Burnt Mountain. Anybody trampling around would destroy this super sensitive environment.
In its subdued grey, white, black, ochre and terra cotta colour palette, it reminded us a bit of the Coloured Sands of Chamarel on Mauritius, be it less colourful.
From there on we continued towards Doros crater. When we had asked at the Organ Pipes office if this was the road to Doros, they couldn’t really tell. We figured out that for the staff at Twyfelfontein, Organ Pipes and Burnt Mountain… their little world ended right there. For them there was actually no reason why they would venture into the wild big yonder!
So we set off into yet another part of the Namibian desert landscape: sand and stone and the odd lost shrubs and trees adding some accents between the waving grasses on the red soil. At one stage we passed a section that looked like our beloved Fairy Circles… but in reverse: the Fairy Circles phenomenon is supposed to be circles devoid of plant life in areas where the gound is covered with some kind of grass. In this case it looked as if the circles were the only places in this rocky landscape where grass was growing! Weird!
Some sections of the road were really dodgy and at one moment (once again) Trokkie got into such a scary tilt that I thought we lost her. Sometimes these 4×4 tracks are a bit more challenging for a 12 ton truck than it would be for a normal 4×4. But we made it!
The road alternated between very rocky and very corrugated. Especially on the rocky parts, Stefaan took it very slow. We might have tried out our winch in the Ugab River, but we really didn’t want to slash a tyre and having to jack up our 12 ton home to change a tyre. That would be a total different ball game!
And then we saw Doros!
We parked Trokkie at the bottom of a very rough path going up and went for a walk. On top you actually walk on the rim of the crater and you can see the crater floor with the one dome in the middle and the up-heaved rim all around. It is more or less an elongated horseshoe formation as one end of the crater is open (different from Messum which was circular and, with overlapping sections, closed all around).
Somebody had started to build a house on the top, but left it to the elements. We don’t know the reason that it was eventually abandoned, but the views from this house were just beautiful: uninterrupted views across the valley floor all the way up to Brandberg in the distance!
Then we started on our walk down again over this rocky hill side, with its variety of stone and rock with solitary plants having found enough grip is this bare landscape to survive.
We parked on a path close to the centre dome and called it a day. While we were sorting out photos, an SUV, with signage of the Save The Rhino Trust, stopped alongside us. Stefaan got to chat to the guys and invited them in for a cup of coffee and we talked about all things wildlife, rhino’s, poachers, etc.
When they left, the one guy explained that a few km down the road, turning left and over a hill of two, there was a fountain (a spring/waterhole) and the rhino trackers arrive there daily around 7 am to follow the rhino spoor. He said we could always ask them if we could join them for a rhino-tracking. Although we have had a few promises that haven’t worked out, we’re always keen to give it another try.
This would be an extra ordinary experience… so of course we would give it a go! We went to bed and hoped for the best for the following day!
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