damaraland, Namíbia

Namibia On the Rocks


a trail at dawn
Jeep crosses the reddish expanse around the Damaraland Wilderness Camp at dawn.
shelter by force
Two inhabitants descended from those displaced by the South African plan of Odendaal.
plant resilience
A small acacia tree defies the barrenness of the mountainous desert of Damaraland.
child care
Elephants protect themselves from the increasingly intense heat in the shade of the region's thorny vegetation.
plant resilience II
A solitary tree rises from the arid sandpaper soil of Damaraland.
rocks on rocks
One of the piles of large pink granite boulders that dot the vastness of Damaraland.
Ocher screen
Petrogligos from Twyfelfontein attest to the presence of the predecessors of the San and Khoi Khoi peoples.
comfort on rocks
Structure of Sorris Sorris Lodge, installed on the slope of one of the many pink cliffs at the foot of the highest Namibian elevation, the Brandenberg Mountain.
Dawn shadows
Guide and driver from Damaraland Wilderness Camp, about to board one of the lodge's jeeps.
4102bb5f-53a3-4a63-9c22-3f1be8087baa
Rock formation bequeathed by erosion in Damaraland.
lookout
Guide John scans the inhospitable horizon for elephants.
outcast
Resident in charge of the parking lot at Damaraland Wilderness Camp, once exiled from North South Africa.
stack with art
Rocks stacked balanced and judicious by nature, on their way to Twyfelfontein.
plant resilience III
An old tree subsists in the bed of a river that only flows during the region's short rainy season.
across the desert below
Damaraland Camp guide drives a jeep along a narrow trail in the region.
Hundreds of kilometers north of Swakopmund, many more of Sossuvlei's iconic dunes, Damaraland is home to deserts interspersed with red rocky hills, the young nation's highest mountain and ancient rock art. the settlers South Africans they named this region after the Damara, one of the Namibian ethnic groups. Only these and other inhabitants prove that it remains on Earth.

An Abrasive Journey

We started by confessing that we had not done our homework for Namibia nor were we prepared for the dramatic transition that would follow. A few days before, we completed the route from the capital Windhoek to PN Etosha, comfortable and flying low. The same happened in the initial stretch between Etosha and Damaraland Camp where we were supposed to enter before dark.

We hit Otavi in ​​a flash. In Otavi, we are forced to leave Namibia's road backbone and head west. We opened on the country's C gravel roads instead of the well-paved B roads. From Otavi to Outjo we proceeded without complaints, but from Outjo onwards we soon found ourselves in a motorized hell.

Our car and the others started to raise a dry dust that infiltrated the cabin and irritated us, as well as irritating the airways and eyes. The sun and temperature soared and the air conditioner succumbed to the invasion of dust.

In the hours that followed, we felt in a dirty sauna. As if that wasn't enough, the rollercoaster profile of the itinerary – which passed over rivers and streams exclusive to the rainy season – required us to pay extra attention.

Sudden ramps and detours forced us to brakes and “landings” that sometimes glued us to the benches and sometimes shook us. "Is this always going to be like this?" she complains to Sara, sweating, broken, with a dying air, from the place of the dead.

Rock formation, Damaraland, Namibia

Rock formation bequeathed by erosion in Damaraland.

The truth is, at that point, we had no idea what the next two weeks would be like. Even if I knew them the same or worse, I would always answer in the same way: “It's just a little longer like that. We're there for another hour. Tomorrow we won't even remember it."

Panoramas and the Outlawed Inhabitants of Damaraland

Well over an hour passed without a shadow of a place to stop, have a drink and refresh ourselves. We only interrupted that African rally to photograph the first surreal sets of Damaraland.

At half past five in the afternoon, between rocky and stray hills, we found the Damaraland Camp car park. Only the most robust jeeps could complete the journey to the lodge.

As such, we immobilize the car and wait for the transfer to chat with Neil Adams, neighbor of Sabina Waterboer, the usual guardian of the vehicles. Both Neil and Sabina belonged to the Riemvasmaak tribe and the Damaraland ethnicity.

Resident of Damaraland, Namibia

Resident in charge of the parking lot at Damaraland Wilderness Camp, once exiled from North South Africa.

Dona Sabina had gone to a funeral. We never got to know her. In any case, we quickly realized that, more than a car park, what was there were lives. Exile lives in a no man's land.

Two humble houses had been built on sandpaper. Wire fences protected the homes, a few low trees and a few domestic animals inside. The longer the jeep took, the more intrigued us why anyone would settle in those arid nowhere.

We knew we were in an area crossed by wild animals. We started the conversation there. "These goats must attract a little bit of everything here, no?" “Attract each other”… Sabina's neighbor answers us.

From time to time, the lions smell them and we find them around here. Other times, it's the brown hyenas.” We let the verbiage flow until we feel comfortable.

At a certain point, we couldn't resist: “Don't get us wrong, but… how did you end up in a place like this”

“We didn't have much of a choice”, explains the calm interlocutor, who takes the opportunity to enlighten us about the misfortune that devastated the small community.

An Inhuman Legacy of Apartheid

In the 60s, under the auspices of the League of Nations, the Apartheid government of South Africa he still ruled Southwest Africa, confiscated from Germany during World War I. Following the example of the atrocious years of Germanic occupation and the historic preamble opened by boer pioneers, endeavored to implement a Homelands policy there, colloquially known as the Odendaal Plan.

According to the recommendation of such a Commission of Inquiry on the Affairs of South West Africa, “the good use of the resources available to both whites and natives recommended the creation of lands that would accommodate the different ethnic groups of the vast territory”.

Through this Machiavellian plan, in practice, the authorities proposed to exile entire communities from the places where they lived, manipulating their dignity as if they were a game.

Of course, in the midst of this so-called ideology, countless commercial interests spoke louder. “We had a perfect life there in Mgcawu, near the Orange River,” Neil tells us. "But they wanted that whole area for mining and they sent us here."

Inhabitants of Damaraland, Torra Conservancy Region, Namibia

Two inhabitants descended from those displaced by the South African plan of Odendaal.

According to the plan, the new Bantustan of Damaraland was supposed to house only the Damara people, considered one of the oldest in the Namibia region, after the San and the Nama. The Odendaal Plan continued to move the natives at the pleasure of the rulers.

Neil and many of the neighbors were forced to rise from nothing in those inhospitable places. Mrs. Waterboer's agreement with Damaraland Camp to take care of the cars, supplemented her particular existential vacuum as a blessing.

From Damaraland Camp to Desert Elephant Demand

The jeep appears and interrupts the conversation. It takes us to the lodge where we settled in three stages. The setting toasts even more the surrounding hills and valleys. It makes them so scarlet that we wondered if we had not reached Mars. Only dinner at the table with the other guests and the respective earthly pleasures dispels this doubt.

We wake up at 5:30 am. A jeep from Damaraland Camp takes us to a central elevation above where we have breakfast with the full moon resisting the re-emerging sun.

Jeep crosses Damaraland, Namibia

Jeep crosses the reddish expanse around the Damaraland Wilderness Camp at dawn.

The dawn, instead of sunset, gilds and reddens the panorama, in the image of the Fish River Canyon, in southern Namibian, semi-martian. Made of mountains and valleys dotted with stout, thorny green bushes. After the meal, under the pretext of finding one of the herds of desert elephants that roamed there, we set out to discover it.

Three jeeps descend the hill into the valley. They start by going by caravan but soon disperse in order to optimize the search for pachyderms. We cross desolate valleys surrounded by old mountains and volcanoes. In the vastness, a solitary acacia confirmed the biological resilience of those confines.

Acacia challenges the desert of Damaraland, Namibia

A small acacia tree defies the barrenness of the mountainous desert of Damaraland.

The landscape would soon change. We traversed parched riverbeds from which we emerged onto savannahs lined with yellow hay that a train of baboons was crossing at great speed.

The jeeps keep in touch via radio. They exchange information about footprints and other clues. Before long, we crossed the road on which we had arrived at Damaraland Camp the afternoon before. “These desert elephants here are special, you know?

They are much lighter and more agile.” explain the guide to us. “They got used to going up and down the hills. So, sometimes, it costs us to find them.”

Anyway, the Elusive Pachyderms

We searched the other side until exhaustion. Meanwhile, stuck in narrower valleys, we intersect the paths followed by the other jeeps and stop to exchange new signs. Finally, well after eleven in the morning, we find the herd there.

Elephants in Damaraland, Namibia

Elephants protect themselves from the increasingly intense heat in the shade of the region's thorny vegetation.

There were thirteen elephants, in fact, smaller than those on the African savannahs. They protected some offspring in the shade of woody acacia trees. We admire them for some time and the animals to us.

Then we return to the lodge and repack. We say goodbye. We head south. The farther south we got, the more fascinating piles of red rock abounded, identical to those that surrounded us as we searched for the elephants.

rocks on rocks

One of the piles of large pink granite boulders that dot the vastness of Damaraland.

The Unusual Petroglyphs of Twyfelfontein

A hundred kilometers later, we find that the most famous site of rock art in Namibia, Twyfelfontein, congregated a range of these hills, inhabited by lizards and large colonies of hyraxes.

Under a blue sky that blended perfectly with rocky ocher, a black-skinned but Caucasian-featured service guide leads us through the complex. It takes us to where the most famous petroglyphs were.

And it explains, in detail, what was known of the hunter-gatherers who took refuge there and who recorded there the animals they were forced to hunt, imitated by the Khoi Khoi ethnic group that succeeded them.

Petroglyphs of Twyfelfontein, Namibia

Petrogligos from Twyfelfontein attest to the presence of the predecessors of the San and Khoi Khoi peoples.

We too needed shelter for the night ahead. As usual, in Namibia, the next lodge was far away and the itinerary featured roads of category C, D and worse. We are on our way as soon as possible. Even so, we arrived at Sorris Sorris Lodge at night. Andrew, the manager, installs us and treats us to a divine dinner.

Sorris Sorris Lodge and the Supreme Mountain of Namibia

As happened at the Damaraland Camp and is characteristic of the region, the dawn opens up to us a new improbable place. The warm morning light falls on the lodge's terrace on one side and, on the other, outbuildings, placed on the slope of another large hill of pink granite pebbles.

The sun soon passed behind the lodge. Finally, he highlighted the setting in front of that privileged amphitheater, handpicked by Victor Azevedo, a businessman who has long breathed Africa – he lived in Angola, South Africa, then Namibia – and which, after triumphing in restoration, bet on a network of lodges that would reveal selected Namibian spaces.

Structure of the Sorris Sorris lodge, Namibia

Structure of Sorris Sorris Lodge, installed on the slope of one of the many pink cliffs at the foot of the highest Namibian elevation, the Brandenberg Mountain

In front of us, a good distance away, we had the sandy bed of the Ugab River and the alluvial plain that the savage floods of the rainy season spread.

Above, Brandberg towered over an impressive 2573 meter rock mass, the queen mountain of Namibia. For 72 hours the eccentric geology of Damaraland dazzled us. We decided to extend our stay at Sorris Sorris with a clear objective: to continue to admire it.

More information about Damaraland on the website of Namibia Tourism.

fish river canyon, Namíbia

The Namibian Guts of Africa

When nothing makes you foreseeable, a vast river ravine burrows the southern end of the Namíbia. At 160km long, 27km wide and, at intervals, 550 meters deep, the Fish River Canyon is the Grand Canyon of Africa. And one of the biggest canyons on the face of the Earth.
bazaruto, Mozambique

The Inverted Mirage of Mozambique

Just 30km off the East African coast, an unlikely but imposing erg rises out of the translucent sea. Bazaruto it houses landscapes and people who have lived apart for a long time. Whoever lands on this lush, sandy island soon finds himself in a storm of awe.
Cape Cross, Namíbia

The Most Turbulent of the African Colonies

Diogo Cão landed in this cape of Africa in 1486, installed a pattern and turned around. The immediate coastline to the north and south was German, South African, and finally Namibian. Indifferent to successive transfers of nationality, one of the largest seal colonies in the world has maintained its hold there and animates it with deafening marine barks and endless tantrums.
Kolmanskop, Namíbia

Generated by the Diamonds of Namibe, Abandoned to its Sands

It was the discovery of a bountiful diamond field in 1908 that gave rise to the foundation and surreal opulence of Kolmanskop. Less than 50 years later, gemstones have run out. The inhabitants left the village to the desert.
Lüderitz, Namibia

Wilkommen in Africa

Chancellor Bismarck has always disdained overseas possessions. Against his will and all odds, in the middle of the Race for Africa, merchant Adolf Lüderitz forced Germany to take over an inhospitable corner of the continent. The homonymous city prospered and preserves one of the most eccentric heritages of the Germanic empire.
Death Valley, USA

The Hottest Place Resurrection

Since 1921, Al Aziziyah, in Libya, was considered the hottest place on the planet. But the controversy surrounding the 58th measured there meant that, 99 years later, the title was returned to Death Valley.
Atacama Desert, Chile

Life on the Edges of the Atacama Desert

When you least expect it, the driest place in the world reveals new extraterrestrial scenarios on a frontier between the inhospitable and the welcoming, the sterile and the fertile that the natives are used to crossing.
Serengeti, Great Savannah Migration, Tanzania, wildebeest on river
Safari
Serengeti NP, Tanzania

The Great Migration of the Endless Savanna

In these prairies that the Masai people say syringet (run forever), millions of wildebeests and other herbivores chase the rains. For predators, their arrival and that of the monsoon are the same salvation.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Pisang, Nepal,

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Ngawal when the last snow faded.
Architecture & Design
Cemeteries

the last address

From the grandiose tombs of Novodevichy, in Moscow, to the boxed Mayan bones of Pomuch, in the Mexican province of Campeche, each people flaunts its own way of life. Even in death.
Totems, Botko Village, Malekula, Vanuatu
Adventure
Malekula, Vanuatu

Meat and Bone Cannibalism

Until the early XNUMXth century, man-eaters still feasted on the Vanuatu archipelago. In the village of Botko we find out why European settlers were so afraid of the island of Malekula.
The Crucifixion in Helsinki
Ceremonies and Festivities
Helsinki, Finland

A Frigid-Scholarly Via Crucis

When Holy Week arrives, Helsinki shows its belief. Despite the freezing cold, little dressed actors star in a sophisticated re-enactment of Via Crucis through streets full of spectators.
Cliffs above the Valley of Desolation, near Graaf Reinet, South Africa
Cities
Graaf-Reinet, South Africa

A Boer Spear in South Africa

In early colonial times, Dutch explorers and settlers were terrified of the Karoo, a region of great heat, great cold, great floods and severe droughts. Until the Dutch East India Company founded Graaf-Reinet there. Since then, the fourth oldest city in the rainbow nation it thrived at a fascinating crossroads in its history.
Singapore Asian Capital Food, Basmati Bismi
Meal
Singapore

The Asian Food Capital

There were 4 ethnic groups in Singapore, each with its own culinary tradition. Added to this was the influence of thousands of immigrants and expatriates on an island with half the area of ​​London. It was the nation with the greatest gastronomic diversity in the Orient.
Tombola, street bingo-Campeche, Mexico
Culture
Campeche, Mexico

A Bingo so playful that you play with puppets

On Friday nights, a group of ladies occupy tables at Independencia Park and bet on trifles. The tiniest prizes come out to them in combinations of cats, hearts, comets, maracas and other icons.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Sport
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Martian Scenery of the White Desert, Egypt
Traveling
White Desert, Egypt

The Egyptian Shortcut to Mars

At a time when conquering the solar system's neighbor has become an obsession, an eastern section of the Sahara Desert is home to a vast related landscape. Instead of the estimated 150 to 300 days to reach Mars, we took off from Cairo and, in just over three hours, we took our first steps into the Oasis of Bahariya. All around, almost everything makes us feel about the longed-for Red Planet.
Bathers in the middle of the End of the World-Cenote de Cuzamá, Mérida, Mexico
Ethnic
Yucatan, Mexico

The End of the End of the World

The announced day passed but the End of the World insisted on not arriving. In Central America, today's Mayans watched and put up with incredulity all the hysteria surrounding their calendar.
Sunset, Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio

days like so many others

Martinique island, French Antilles, Caribbean Monument Cap 110
History
Martinique, French Antilles

The Armpit Baguette Caribbean

We move around Martinique as freely as the Euro and the tricolor flags fly supreme. But this piece of France is volcanic and lush. Lies in the insular heart of the Americas and has a delicious taste of Africa.
Mdina, Malta, Silent City, architecture
Islands
Mdina, Malta

The Silent and Remarkable City of Malta

Mdina was Malta's capital until 1530. Even after the Knights Hospitaller demoted it, it was attacked and fortified accordingly. Today, it's the coastal and overlooking Valletta that drives the island's destinies. Mdina has the tranquility of its monumentality.
Northern Lights, Laponia, Rovaniemi, Finland, Fire Fox
Winter White
Lapland, Finland

In Search of the Fire Fox

Unique to the heights of the Earth are the northern or southern auroras, light phenomena generated by solar explosions. You Sami natives from Lapland they believed it to be a fiery fox that spread sparkles in the sky. Whatever they are, not even the nearly 30 degrees below zero that were felt in the far north of Finland could deter us from admiring them.
Baie d'Oro, Île des Pins, New Caledonia
Literature
Île-des-Pins, New Caledonia

The Island that Leaned against Paradise

In 1964, Katsura Morimura delighted the Japan with a turquoise novel set in Ouvéa. But the neighboring Île-des-Pins has taken over the title "The Nearest Island to Paradise" and thrills its visitors.
Homer, Alaska, Kachemak Bay
Nature
Anchorage to Homer, USA

Journey to the End of the Alaskan Road

If Anchorage became the great city of the 49th US state, Homer, 350km away, is its most famous dead end. Veterans of these parts consider this strange tongue of land sacred ground. They also venerate the fact that, from there, they cannot continue anywhere.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Autumn
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
travelers contemplate, monte fitz roy, argentina
Natural Parks
El Chalten, Argentina

The Granite Appeal of Patagonia

Two stone mountains have created a border dispute between Argentina and Chile. But these countries are not the only suitors. The Fitz Roy and Torre hills have long attracted die-hard climbers
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
UNESCO World Heritage
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
In elevator kimono, Osaka, Japan
Characters
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
Cable car connecting Puerto Plata to the top of PN Isabel de Torres
Beaches
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Home Silver

Puerto Plata resulted from the abandonment of La Isabela, the second attempt at a Hispanic colony in the Americas. Almost half a millennium after Columbus's landing, it inaugurated the nation's inexorable tourist phenomenon. In a lightning passage through the province, we see how the sea, the mountains, the people and the Caribbean sun keep it shining.
Herd in Manang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Religion
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal,

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
Train Kuranda train, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
On Rails
Cairns-Kuranda, Australia

Train to the Middle of the Jungle

Built out of Cairns to save miners isolated in the rainforest from starvation by flooding, the Kuranda Railway eventually became the livelihood of hundreds of alternative Aussies.
Singapore, Success and Monotony Island
Society
Singapore

The Island of Success and Monotony

Accustomed to planning and winning, Singapore seduces and recruits ambitious people from all over the world. At the same time, it seems to bore to death some of its most creative inhabitants.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Daily life
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
Howler Monkey, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Wildlife
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Tortuguero: From the Flooded Jungle to the Caribbean Sea

After two days of impasse due to torrential rain, we set out to discover the Tortuguero National Park. Channel after channel, we marvel at the natural richness and exuberance of this Costa Rican fluvial marine ecosystem.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
PT EN ES FR DE IT