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2014 Trip Report - Return to Namibia

Return to Namibia -- South Africa

June 26 - July 3, 2014

by Anne Stoll

The return to Namibia -- this means visiting a good friend, very easy. We landed in Windhoek, rented the car, and after a few hours on Namibia’s excellent, nearly empty main highway, we checked in to our B & B in the coastal town of Swakopmund. The coast was already shrouded in its famous wet fog, cool (it’s winter there), slightly pungent and sticky. The fog is a regular visitor, a fast-moving gray blanket that brings moisture to the creatures of the nearby Namib Desert. The next day we drove into huge Namib-Naukluft National Park headed for our remote lodge, the Wüstenquell Private Nature Reserve. En route we passed through the Welwitschia Plain and marveled at these crazy, ancient plants. The one in my photo could be 1000 years old!

We stayed three nights at the Wüstenquell, relaxing and (of course) looking at archaeological sites. It is a lovely middle-of-nowhere place with several special features.

One of them is this nasty HUGE grasshopper (see photos) – they were everywhere. OK, they don’t do anything except eat (including each other) but still. A much more pleasant feature of Wüstenquell are the lovely wind-sculpted granite rocks.

The favorite sundowner place is Eagle Rocks, here  (see photo) threatening to devour George. Our host, Oliver Rüst, (see photo) showing us an ingenious ladder used long ago to collect honey from the slot above – now clearly the home of a large bird. An often-used hearth was observed nearby, along with assorted artifacts.

Next – the very unusual painted rock art at Wüstenquell.

So we left off with grasshoppers – and a gin and tonic -- on the terrace at a cool lodge in the middle of nowhere in Namibia. At this place there is a single remarkable rock art panel located in what is imaginatively called Bushman’s Cave.

The entrance to the cave is just here and inside the sole rock art panel is illuminated, by natural light, in a most theatrical manner. The shelter is cool, dark and dry with a clean, sandy floor.

These images (normal digital and DStretched) are certainly San – painted by San people sometime in the past. They are not fakes, we are convinced. However they are also very weird and not much like any other San paintings we’ve seen in Namibia or elsewhere. I believe they are more recent than the San paintings of the Erongos, but it’s just a hunch at this point. Don’t you love the cascade of little people tumbling down the wall? One atypical detail is the way some of the animals are turned face on, looking at us; there are no fewer than three of those here.

An interesting grouping here, almost everyone looking to the left, some with outstretched arms, some clapping or? One appears to be a shepherd with hat, crook and dog.

But wait there’s more. (additional materials are expected from Anne)