Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Trip Through The Gamsberg Pass - C26

After meeting Meg in Windhoek, we traveled to Sossusvlei via the C26 gravel road through the Gamsberg Pass.

A donkey cart in the hills before the Pass.

Donkeys are amazing creatures - I've seen them easily pull a cart up a gradient which I thought impossible.

There are some beautiful farms along the route - many of them cater to guests and campers.

A sign at the start of the Pass warning Truckers of the steep decline and sharp bends ahead.

This area has spectacular scenery, too much for one blog post.

The flat-topped Gamsberg Mountain is the dominant feature.

There seem to be quite a few Astronomical Observatories around here. I gleaned some info from this Source:

"The Gamsberg has been identified as one of the most suitable sites for an observatory in Southern Africa.
It is a table-mountain 120 km south west of Windhoek above the Namib desert at an altitude of 2350 m above sea level.

It experiences a large number of cloudless nights, a dark sky, excellent atmospheric transparency and low humidity. Comparative test measurements have demonstrated that it is of just as good quality as the well-known astronomical sites in Chile."

Who needs a Rollercoaster?

Namibia has just had a record-breaking Rain Season and most of the usually bone-dry riverbeds still had water in them.

A troop of Baboons at a river - I was surprised that they allowed me to photograph them.

Most Baboons I encounter run as soon as I approach or point my camera at them.

They can become pests on farms and are often shot at.

I love this Leopard design at a farm entrance ... or is it a Cheetah? ... :)

And then we were out of the mountains, on flat ground approaching the desert ...


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sesriem - On The Edge Of Nowhere

Sesriem is a 'settlement' on the edge of the Namib Desert.

It is the western entrance to the Namib Nauklauft Park and consists of two camping areas, a Lodge catering mainly to Fly-In and Coach-Tour visitors and, a fuel station/store.

It is also the access point to the famous Sossusvlei and its much-photographed dunes.

On the gravel roads leading to Sesriem there are many Desert Lodges and Operators offering services like Balloon Safaris and Aircraft flights over the dunes.

I don't know what it costs to Balloon over the desert but I'm sure I couldn't afford it.

I had to be satisfied with this aerial view of Sesriem - a Welcome sign at the Sossus Oasis Camp Site where we stayed: the circle in the foreground.

Entrance to Sossusvlei is restricted to daylight hours and therefore Sesriem, being about 70kms east of Sossusvlei, is a convenient stop-over for visitors wanting to get to the Dunes early the next day before the sun gets too hot.

The camp sites at the Sossus Oasis Camp are nicely spaced, ensuring a degree of privacy.

Each shaded camping spot has a barbecue, electrical-point and wash-basin for dishes. Behind the reed enclosure is a toilet and shower with hot water - what a pleasure it is to shower here after a long day on the road, cool breeze blowing and a fantastic view over the desert.

The owners of the camp pride themselves on their eco-friendliness - hot water and electricity is solar generated. I assume that water is also pumped from solar-powered boreholes.

A Biker enters the Namibia Wildlife Resorts Camp where permits are issued for entrance to Sossusvlei.

Motorcycles are not allowed into Sossusvlei so bikers have to either hitch a ride with a motorist or use one of the expensive Shuttle-service Vehicles.

We took two Bikers with us on our trip to Sossusvlei; they'd traveled across Russia, Europe and Africa and were on their way home to Oz, via Namibia and Cape Town - it would have been a shame if they'd come all that way and not been able to get to Sossusvlei.

A Balloon over the Desert.

It seems that the Balloons only fly at sunrise when there is no wind - the view must be spectacular.

In the pic above you can see one of three Micro-light aircraft which appeared in the sky and then came in to land on the gravel road running past the camp.

The whole setting of Sesriem is surreal.

This outpost in the desert with all the strange-looking vehicles coming and going gave me a sense of Déjà vu - later it struck me that Sesriem is like a scene from a Mad Max movie.

After landing, the Airmen taxied up to the pumps and proceeded to refuel their flying machines:

Wow, I can only imagine how it must feel to tour a country in this way - I was feeling too shy to strike-up a conversation with these travelers so I can tell you no more about them.

The Sesriem Canyon, about 5kms from the campsite.

It was midday and hot and I was in no mood to trek down the path leading into it and back up again - maybe next time ...

'Sesriem', literally translated from Afrikaans means 'Six Thongs' - you can read why this Canyon is so-named here

If you follow the Location link below you'll get a good perspective of the area.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mmmmm ... I Can't Think Of A Title ...

A few more images from my recent trip Northwards:

Rostock Mountain at Sunrise.

Painted boots serve as a Farm-Entrance marker - the person who once wore them had a massive pair of feet ... those leathers are huge.

A Koringkriek clings to a lamp in a strange pose - you can see a pic of a 'normal' one here.

A group of Tourists pause for a photo-op on the Tropic Of Capricorn.

This Black-chested Snake Eagle was sitting on a pole and flew off as I approaced - it then turned around and came swooping past me - is that a look of contempt in it's eye?

Another strange Farm Sign ... it's difficult to miss Bethel with this bright object so in-your-face ...

A Lizard in the sand - at least I think it's a Lizard ... I haven't got around yet to researching the differences between Lizards, Skinks and Geckos ... perhaps someone will just tell me ... in simple English.

A group of Farm Workers being transported home on a trailer pulled by a Tractor - I just love the kid peeking out from it's mother's back ... and Mom's forelocks blowing in the wind ...

This is one of the most amazing rock-formations I've seen ... it's probably about 80cm to a meter thick and I can't decide whether it's man-made or natural ... what do you think?

Whew! ... it seems like I've travelled thousands of Ks in the last few weeks and, thinking about it, I have ... on Thursday I'm off to Capetown for a few days - hopefully, when I get back I can relax awhile and get my life sorted out ...


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Back-Road Through Paradise

Hello Friends,

I'm Bach in 'town' again for awhile - when I left for the North in mid-April I travelled the back roads skirting the Namib Desert, past Sossusvlei:

I wonder if this Horse has a Name? ... in the distance, almost center, is the 'Alien Communicator', the subject of an earlier post.

I ruined two days of images because I didn't check my camera settings and the pics turned out all grainy, I'm posting some of them anyway.

Most of Namibia has had a very good rainy season and grass plains stretch as far as the eye can see.

The grass grows and seeds quickly in this environment but does not appear to be very nutritious.

I wish I had the time to stop and photograph every Sociable Weavers' nest, especially at sunrise or sunset, when the light shines on them 'just right'.

A Tractor stands on the edge of one of the massive farms found in this area.

I'm not sure of it was meant to serve as a farm-marker or if it had broken-down ... it looks like it's in workable condition though. Notice the Coke Can 'muffler' on the exhaust-pipe ...

A bridge over the Kuiseb River which only flows after good rain in the catchment area.

This is the area where the author of The Sheltering Desert, together with his friend and a dog, survived for more than two years at the outbreak of the Second World War.

In the pic you can see the ruins of two rock huts - I doubt that these were their shelters though.

A flash-Flood had passed this way only hours before ... the road was rough in places because of the unusually good rains.

I don't know what the yellow flowers are that grow on the southern side of some of the hills near Karibib but, they make them look very pretty.

I'll be taking Megan to Capetown next week where she's due to take a return flight to London.