My journal. Africa Trip, March 9 – April 6, 2016

Africa Trip, March 2016 Namibia Day by Day 4&5. Mowani Camp, Twyfelfontein area 2

Two crises in Twyfelfontein: 1 — fuel and 2 — another flat.

Two interesting sight sites and one good lunch with pool, also in Twyfelfontein.

As we were driving into the Tweyfelfontein area towards our lovely Mowani Camp, it occurred to M&E that they might not have enough diesel fuel in the car to continue as planned on over to the Skeleton Coast and down to Henties Bay, the next place on our route with a gas station marked on the map. They felt it would have been smart to have refueled in Khorixas, but that was behind them now. See the map again here.

Up in the front seat they were pondering various alternatives and worrying quite a bit, but back in the back where I was with Kyle and Katie, the only concern was with what to read and who got to use the I-pad when. (Margaret ran a timer to keep things in order.) So the first order of business on day 5 (our second overnight there) was to see if there wasn’t a fuel source in this Twyfelfontein area. Our hot water tank lighter told them there was, indeed, in the maintenance area of the Twyfelfontein Country Lodge. (Link with great pix.)

That lodge being relatively nearby, they elected to visit the petroglyphs on the way. Some pix:

Petroglyphs are quite a mystery to me. Dating them is pretty uncertain still because of the lack of carbon residue, and other techniques are new. Here’s a quick overview. Just what the feet up there on either side of the (two?) giraffe(s) are for is an interesting question to speculate on. In the desert southwest of the US we find hands, also in Lascaux and other deep cave painting. The hands suggest a Kilroy was here idea. And the feet might fit with that, too. Or, of course, these might be an early recognition of Bigfoot.

At the petroglyph HQ we met an enterprising ground squirrel:

And we also began an acquaintance with a Spanish couple in the agriculture industry. These two would show up for dinner on day 8.

As an attendant at the petroglyph site had told MnE it was uncertain that the lodge gas supply was sufficient, they were a little distressed in driving over to it to find themselves passed by another car who got to the station first. However, it turned out there was plenty of fuel and the car’s German drivers were just used to the Autobahn.

Not having any photos of the desolate fill-up spot, I’ll substitute a photo of my ever-thoughtful son still at the petroglyph spot. Likely he is wondering here about whether or not there will in fact be diesel fuel at the shop when he gets there.

After the successful fill-up we took a break for lunch at the Twyfelfontein Country Lodge. Hard to believe you could find a spot this luxurious in this remote-beyond-your-wildest-dream desert:

To the left of there we can make out the artificial waterfall at the pool below the upper-level bar

Inside, looking out. Lunch time. The Spanish couple happen to be there, too. Left of center.

Then the pool with the artificial waterfall:

Following lunch and the pool, we went to another of the main Twyfelfontein area points of interest, the petrified forest. As we had all seen the Arizona petrified forest, the main interest for us was the strange Welwitschia mirabilis, the world’s oldest-living flowering plant. Thought to have instances one to two thousand years old, says Wikipedia. It also has only two leaves although they grow so large and get so cut up over the years that the appearance is deceiving:

It is a gymnosperm of its own special kind and comes in male and female plants. Here is the female with cones:

And the male with whatever these are called:

Back, then, to the beautiful boulder camp for the evening:

Where Katie discovers that now we have a flat tire at the right rear.

Let’s review. The Nissan comes with TWO spare tires. Back in Etosha at Namutoni on day 2 we discovered the left rear was flat and replaced it with one of the spares. BUT we also discovered that the flat itself could not be repaired because the damage was too severe. We store it underneath the car and go on. So here in Mowani Camp in the late afternoon of day 5 we have this flat and one more spare, which Eric and Margaret (very useful in all the physical stuff of camping and carring as well as navigation) quickly replace the flat with. So now we have four good tires and no able-bodied spares.

Not to worry, on the way out (for our 350 km distant destination, Swakopmund — check the map again) we find the maintenance shop at Twyfelfontein Country Lodge and the flat is repaired. So now we have one spare and about 350 km to go.

Next page.

The photo above shows an interesting Danish chap (who only gives Bihrmann as a name) with a giant Welwitxchia. Do visit his page (here) for lots of interesting info on this strange plant. That photo above is from Namibia. I understand from his site that the plant grows only two leaves per year, not per lifetime, as I had thought. But it’s not clear to me.