Day Eleven - Mountains in the desert
Swakopmund, during a Namibian trip, is an important crossroads since it's the start point for the visit to the Skeleton Coast, become national park, which extends towards North up to Angola. This is one of the least hospitable place in the whole world; here, there are only desert, ocean, wrecks and (during winter) fog.. Who visits Skeleton Coast usually remains fascinated for its atmosphere (one of the ranger we met defines it as the most beautiful and peculiar place of the entire Namibia). Here only fishermen live in some little villages and seals, concentrated at Cape Cross, where the most densely populated seals colony in the world stay.
From Swakopmund we leave for the Land of Damara, Damaraland, where we met some important massifs such as Spitzkoppe, defined as Namibia Matterhorn, 1700 meters high. To reach Spitzkoppe the street is a mixed of asphalt (B2) and gravel road - but not too complicated.
If someone is interested, some excursions can be performed around Spitzkoppe and only the bravest ones will try the climbing up to the top. We only admired its majesty and take some pictures.
Our destination is the Erongo Wilderness Lodge ( Link ). Placed in the Erongo Mountains complex, this lodge is an ideal place for a relaxing afternoon or for a walk in the middle of the mountains. It'a also possible to visit some cave painting in Paula's Cave with a local guide. Inside lodge there are many dassies (like chatty groundhog) but the game drive did not give us significant surpreises except for the small Damara Dik Dik. This part of Namibia did not excite us as much as the rest of our journey..probably it would be better to visit the Skeleton Coast.
Day Twelve & Day Thirteen - La terra dei Damara
The "Land of Damara" is likely the most authentic part of Namibia. Damara people have been living here for immemorial time and they are the owners of this wonderful Country although, first migrations of Central Africa populations (Nama and Herero) and then the arrival of European settlers, ousted these people from their role.
Damara people however left signs of their millennial presence and, indeed, here you can find many places where to admire their cave paintings and engravings. Twyfeltfontein is the most famous place for who could be interested in this kind of activity; the suggestion is to bring with you comfortable shoes because you will walk a lot!
In Damaraland we started to see a different part of Namibia, if compared to the Southern areas; pastoralism and nomadism are more perceptible, the endless fences of private farms that have accompanied us throughout the journey, vanish ... here the land is the community, of the tribes! We can not say to have deepened the social aspects, but, they seem to feel really good in their lifestyle completely different from the Western one.
We stayed for 2 days at Grootberg Lodge ( Link ), an eco-friendly example of how Namibia succeeds in using tourism in a positive way. Besides being eco friendly - the lodge is a community property (more precisely of ≠Khoadi-//Hôas Conservancy) - this lodge gave many job opportunities and its proceeds are used for community development projects and to promote the integration and respect for the wildlife of the area (eg. fund to reimburse ranchers from livestock losses due to predators).
The lodge is situated in a wonderful location, overlooking the Etendeka plateau... In terms of room, it is one of the most spartan of our trip (there are no power outlets in the room), but staff, food and views are priceless. There are lots of activities: the visit to a Himba village (local tribe), Rhino and Elephant Tracking and the more classic Sundowner drive. We chose Elephant Tracking (very positive experience).
Stunning images of zebras, kudus, oryx, elephants and wonderful sunsets will remain in our hearts and minds forever.