Twyfelfontein to Sesfontein (Photo Diary)
It took us 7 irritable hours to reach Vingerklip, the 35 metre high "Finger Rock" of Namibia...
by which time we were ready to strangle each other. Insults and a small rock were thrown. Custody of Bow Wow was discussed.
I decided to drive off in to the bush, leaving Lachlan quaking in his Havianas in a cloud of dust. WHO NEEDS HIM ANYWAY!
He was obviously relieved when I returned 40 minutes later having realised that he is quite useful for things like starting fires and putting up tents.
Thankfully, by the Petrified Forest we had made up. The fossilised trunk that Bow Wow and I are perched on is estimated to be around 260 million years old!
Our slick, diamante-studded guide called Salmon explained that if a tree becomes buried under sediment it does not initially decompose due to a lack of oxygen. This is what happened, all those millions of years ago, to the trees in the Petrified Forest.
Stone moulds of the trees formed when the trees eventually decayed and their cells were replaced with minerals while retaining the original structure of the wood.
The following day we visited Twyfelfontein. This gallery of rock art is 6000 years old and boasts the largest collection of Bushman rock engravings in all of Africa.
The engravings were made by shamans to help them access the supernatural world and to record their experiences of that world. The spiritual significance of the rock art makes this site Namibia's answer to the Sistine Chapel as opposed to the Guggenheim.
The repetitive chipping at rock while making engravings would help the shaman to reach a state of trance needed to enter the realm of spirits. While in this realm, the shaman could carry out important tasks like healing the sick, making rain, and communicating with spirit forces.
He would draw on the strength of the animals around him. The ‘Lion Man’ engraving shows five toes on each paw whereas in reality a lion only has four toes. The deliberate combination of animal and human features illustrates that the shaman felt he had actually left his body behind in his state of altered conciousness and transformed in to a lion.
Vision becomes disturbed in a state of trance and the shaman would ‘see’ patterned flashes of light. These are depicted in the seemingly abstract geometric patterns in the rock art.
Giraffes are portrayed without hooves, their legs taper away in long thin lines to represent the sensation of rising up into the air as felt by the shaman taking on the spirit of a giraffe.
A carving of a seal and a penguin, creatures which live around 150 km from here on the coast, tells us how far the Bushman must have journeyed to hunt.
More than merely records of the natural world, these geometric riddles are insights of travels in to the spirit realm.
Nearby, naturally formed columns of stone, known as the Organ Pipes, are a geological wonder.
We picnicked here with fellow roadtrippers Ognen and Juan. http://www.youxin.org/
This is their Californian wagon called 天马 (Tian Ma) which means 'heavenly horse'.
Watch out, warthogs about!
Our first wild zebra sighting outside a national park! Bow Wow seemed very impressed.
"Don't look at us, we're shy!"
Some cool Herero kids loitering outside the last shop that we would see for days. Unfortunately, the only fresh vegetables for sale were onions and so we stocked up on these and tins of Chakalaka, an African spicy relish.
The shop owner, Sarah, is from the Herero tribe whose most valued commodity is cattle. Herero women wear Victorian style full length dresses with hats made from rolled cloth that represent the horns of a cow.
Laden with mielie meal and loose tea for the Himbas, we made sure that our water and fuel jerry cans were full and ventured in to one of the last true wildernesses of Southern Africa, Kaokoland.