Twyfelfontein - Palmwag
At breakfast in Twyfelfontein Lodge we have a chat with 2 Australian couples who are travelling together. They’ve already had 4 flat tires! It seems a flat tire is part of the package on a Namibian roadtrip, but as we cannot change a tire we hope to skip our turn. And if bad luck strikes us, we rely on the kindness of another passing driver or our satellite phone. The Australians are more experienced being on the road in desolate areas coming from a great outback country, and one couple actually lives in Malawi. Still, like us, they are very enthousiastic about Namibia and what they’ve experienced so far. We wish eachother a pleasant continuation of the roadtrip. But we can’t leave without having a closer look at the rock engravings just outside the main building of the lodge. There are just a few, but yes the ancient bushmen unmistakeably marked their presence here as well.
Before we really hit the road we have to get diesel for our ‘bus’ and conveniently the lodge has a petrol station next to the Twyfelfontein airstrip. On the road in Namibia you can drive for a long time without passing any village or town and not every place has a petrol station. So good advice is to always check on the map where the next station is. In the case of Twyfelfontein ‘petrol station’ is an overrated term. We drive for about 3km next to the airstrip and then see one lonely diesel pump. No one around. A bit futher there are some houses and we stop to ask a man. He directs us to the workshop/garage next to the houses. This is where people get their tires fixed (in fact, the Aussies are customers here, picking up a repaired spare tire before hitting the road) or get petrol. The man at the workshop tells us someone will walk to the diesel pump. So slowly I drive back to the pump and two men come walking towards us. One of them eventually sits down and watches while the other man fills the car. This takes a little while. A safari truck stops and the guide steps out. He greets us. “Hi, how are you?” “Fine, how are you?” This is the way we’ve greeted so many people by now. In Europe we are so used to immediately asking our question (or not saying hi at all for that matter!), get to the point, but in Namibia saying hi is always a two-way thing and you always do a little chat. The guide tracks desert elephants, but he says they are far away and they need to track long distances in the hope to see them. Rainy season hasn’t been that wet, so the animals have to travel longer distances to reach water. We tell him we’re travelling to Palmwag today and hope to see elephants there. “Oh yes, you will see them!” We hope he is right. From the lonely diestel pump we then drive to the nearby Burnt Mountain and Organ Pipes. Burnt Mountain looks entirely black, so we get the name, but apparantly in the late afternoon light this mountain shows all colours of the rainbow. Not so much in the 10 a.m. light. It’s just black really. The Organ Pipes are more impressive. We walk into a small gorge where we see hundreds of tall, angular columns of dolorite. Indeed, with some imagination they look like organ pipes. Again there’s no one here, just two other people arrive when we leave.
And then we really start the next part of our roadtrip, destination Palmwag further up into Damaraland. We hit quite a bad stretch of gravel road. The road is all bumpy and I have to drive some parts at no more than 4O km/h, holding my hands tight to the wheel. It’s a long drive this way. I’m glad when we reach Palmwag in the afternoon. Palmwag is actually a concession: it’s an area of 45OO km accesible through a veterinary fence with police control. But the police officer lets us pass and soon we reach the gate of Palmwag Lodge, our home for the next two nights. The lodge consists again of a main building and a few rooms/houses spread out around it. And yes, there actually are palm trees! Strange in this arid area. THere must be some underground water around here.
A young guy greets us as soon as we get out of the car. We are welcomed with a cold drink and the guy show us around the place very enthousiastically. He carries our two bags to the room. “It’s heavy!” we warn him. “I am strong!” he says smiling. He could even carry us on top of the two bags ☺ We don’t challenge him to try and just follow him. It’s a simple room, but it answers all our needs. We decide to have a chill afternoon, have something for lunch, find a place in the garden, as we are doing a gamedrive the next day. When I ask at the bar if they offer lunch, the lady says “No, there is no food.” And then she hands us the menu. Special kind of humor here ☺ There’s also a warning sign for elephants and lions, just around the lodge, another joke – at least we think so.
The rest of our afternoon isn’t such interesting blog material. The most exciting thing that happens is a little bird diving into my hair while I’m listening to my music. We do get a sunset with a big WOW factor. The palmtrees, a few mountains in the background, ... it’s an amazing sight! The rest of the evening we’re not in such good shape, so we have a really early night and set the alarm clock at 6 a.m. for our gamedrive.