Africa

Visit Twyfelfontein and its ancient rock engravings

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New account of 15-day trip to Namibia we did in August 2016. On this occasion we follow our road route from Windhoek Northbound We were going to stop at Khorixas for visit Twyfelfontein, a World Heritage Site, famous for its rock carvings, and then continue until Kamamjab. That was the plan. However, the harsh reality of travel through Namibia we ended up having an invoice that day ...

We get up at 6 in the morning to be on the road at 6:30. However, it took longer than expected to find a gas station and, once there, refuel and drink coffee. The Standard Bank ATM at the gas station was not working. So we drove an hour on B1 to Okahandja. At the entrance of the town, next to some shops, there was an ATM of the FNB from which we could get money. This cashier gave a maximum of 2,000 Namibian dollars (about € 140).

The road was completely straight with some undulations. The signs warn that you have to drive carefully as African pigs "Pumbas" and impalas can pass through, although on both sides we only saw termites and a kind of wild black chickens that occasionally crossed the road at a brisk pace. Somewhat later we saw several families of "Pumbas" grazing just a few meters from the shoulder.

We arrived to Khorixas at 12. The friendly man at the gas station informed us that there were two good hours until he reached the rock carvings of Twyfelfontein. We also lowered the tire pressure to be able to travel better along the unpaved road that awaited us. The speed limit is 100 km / h and there everyone goes crazy. However, we had patience and we did not exceed 40 km / h to avoid puncturing a wheel or overturning the car, something very common when driving fast on the unpaved roads of Namibia. On the way we find many ups and downs, mostly dry riverbeds, so during the rainy season it is very likely that a powerful 4 × 4 and driving skills are essential to visit the area.

After about three hours in the sun and the incessant and unbearable rattle, we finally arrived at Twyfelfontein, almost eight hours after leaving Windhoek. It seemed that we had reached the center of nowhere, but no. In the middle of the desert of sand and rock there is a shaded parking area so that cars do not melt. Beyond is the entrance to the enclosure and the exhibition. On the left hand side there are rocky hills of ocher color that we had surrounded by the road.

The entrance to Twyfelfontein costs $ 60 Namibians per person with a guided tour, plus $ 20 Namibians for parking. When paying the entrance, an employee tells you what time the guided tour will begin. We didn't have to wait long, just ten minutes, long enough to have a cool soda to recover from the road binge we had given ourselves to get there. Soon the guide arrived and took advantage of the shadow of the building to give us a small introduction. By the way, that the building itself is curious, because I think it is made entirely of recycled material. It includes the typical souvenir shop, a bar and an exhibition about the fauna and orography of the area, as well as an explanation about the Twyfelfontein estate.

And, as the guide explained, the place receives that name from the family of Afrikaners who settled there. However, nomadic Khoi-Khoi shepherds who used to pass through there long before called the place Ui-aes, "jumping spring." On the other hand, Twyfelfontein means "doubtful spring" in Afrikaans. Apparently, among the rocks on the hill was a spring that ran water two or three times a year, and that's why they named it that way. We imagine how hard the life of that family of farmers should have been in the middle of such arid terrain. Of course, the San people, the Bushman nomads, had wandered these lands hunting and gathering for millennia. Despite the aridity of the place, the range of ocher colors makes a beautiful contrast with the intense blue of the sky.

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