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Elaine and Peter’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 27 Jul 2014

Location: Fish River Canyon, Namibia

MapWell , minus one this morning as we set off south for Fish River Canyon. Fortunately, the day warmed up to make a pleasant day, unlike yesterday when it seemed to remain very cold until we went to bed.

The road south is a very long straight road, a bit boring really. The road system is currently excellent with all roads running from north to south.
This is a legacy from the military in South Africa, a necessity when there was trouble in Angola. Likewise with the communications systems which are also a legacy from military days. Namibia is used still today as a route through to the rich Angola and so the main highways are newly tarmaced and well maintained. The expectation is that Namibia will be colonised by Angola within the next 15 years as the country is already commercially dependent on Angola.

Our first brief stop was at a widespread town called Mariental. This was originally a mission town set up by Herman Brandt who named the area after his wife, Marie.
It was then an ostrich farming centre, but this has long gone and it is now a support centre for the area. The onset of Bird flu in Europe caused the entire industry in Namibia to collapse.
Today successful farmers have diversified in order to survive. The current trend is towards managing native game rather than farm animals and also earning income from tourism.
The government is trying to encourage the introduction of dairy farming so there are a number of cows lying in the scrubland.

It seemed a long while later that we turned off the main road for a welcome break at the Quivertree Forest, also known as Kokerboomwoud. This was our first real experience of the gravel roads of most of Namibia.
The area is privately owned by the Gariganus farm. Although these trees grow all over the south of Namibia, the area is unique for the huge number of trees in such a relatively short space.
The trees which appear almost skeletal, are usually found on the rocky steep slopes. It's name refers to the supposed use by the bushman who used the bulbous wood to make the quivers for their arrows.

A little further along the road we found the Giants Playground, an area so known because of the marvellous balancing rock formations.

We eventually arrived at our final destination ....our travel lodge, the Canyon Lodge...we have arrived in heaven, a superb place, thatched individual a lodges set amongst the rocks, absolutely stunning. Some of the chalets are built round the rocks! An incredibly lovely place.