Deep in Kaokoland (Photo Diary)
After driving up a dry river bed and accidentally scaring the hell out of unsuspecting animals, we got a taste of our own medicine when we were snuck up on by a band of Himba men bearing spears and axes.
Using our hand held Garmin and Tracks4Africa map we agreed to drive up the dry sandy river bed instead of taking the bone-shaking, corrugated road.
We were warned of flash floods and to be ready to reverse from aggressive elephants.
Surprised animals scattered in front of us as we made fresh tracks on the Hoarusib river bed.
Pronking springboks left us for dust.
In their panic, these poor ostriches didn't move off to the side but ran right in front, madly shaking their tail feathers. They reminded us of Irish river dancers with their bodies and necks barely swaying while their legs frantically kicked to get away.
"Nobody knows the troubles I've had." sighed the leggy, yet still miserable, giraffe.
There's something distinctly samurai-esque about gemsbok, don't you think?
We wonder if as many vultures would follow us if we were driving a Toyota.
Our tracks were the only ones there.
We bush camped just past a Himba settlement called Orupembe on the bed of a dry nameless stream.
(This picture was taken on a timer. We were not posing at all. Except maybe Bow Wow who was pretending to pick up a scent.) Himbas live on mielie meal and meat. There simply was no fresh food available unless we wanted to purchase an entire cow, sheep or goat. With our store cupboard rapidly diminishing I had to get creative and made a surprisingly tasty (in our ravenous state) pasta with tuna, cheesy marmite and chakalaka.
This large monitor-lizard eyed up Bow Wow like a delectable nibble. We hoped to find grub soon before we started feeling the same way.
We are pretty sure that this charming dessert tree is called a Moringa.
A large baobab near Mount Okamanga.
I wanted to take this cow skull with us but sadly it still had a fringe and some wriggling maggots inside.
This encircled enclosure made of thorn branches is a Himba pen for keeping livestock. We stopped for lunch and to have a look around.
We thought that we were perfectly alone. However, as we approached the car to leave, three generations of Himba men appeared, as if from nowhere, bearing spears and axes.
They couldn't speak any English but managed to communicate that they were hacking at ox skulls in preparation for a Himba burial.
Natural selection through the ages has carved the Himbas impressive physiques.
Their tiered skirts are made simply using two pieces of fabric, one for the front and one for the back. These are held in elaborate ruffles with a belt.
Single Himba men wear their hair in a mohawk-ish braid called an ‘ondatu’. The longer the tail at the back, the longer they have been waiting for the right girl. Clearly, this dudes getting desperate.
Himba burial site.
Death of the physical body is not the end for the Himba. They believe that the deceased stays on in the homestead for generations.
Each of these ox skulls placed in a tree represent one hundred cows owned by the deceased.
After the graves we hit a crazily bad road with sharp rocks that ripped chunks out of our tyres. In one section, the map told us that "Grown Himba man acts to throw stones." but thankfully it must have been his day off. Again we bush camped, this time on the Ombuku river bed. We could hear music and laughter coming from a nearby Himba settlement well after the sun had dropped below the trees.
Himbas own about 60 cows each and they know all of their animals individually. These ones looked delicious.
We were so sick of chakalaka, we considered buying a cow from this Himba herds girl and strapping it to our roof.