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Elaine and Peter’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 03 Aug 2014

Location: Damaraland, Namibia

MapThis is the most spectacularly arid place.

Our drive this morning took us firstly to Burnt Mountain. This is huge mound of black shale set amongst the sandstone, where 120million years ago, the stone was scorched by temperatures of 1200 degrees centigrade.

Not far away, in the same process, the rock was shaped into 5 metre tall angular columns of dolorite, now known as the Organ Pipes. Once you could wander at will along the river bed, but now there is a guard keeping an eye on the antics of visitors. The rock was formed 120 million years ago when the dolorite shrank as it cooled and it has taken man just 20'years to destroy a large part of it. So today access is restricted.

In the same area, is the Damaraland Living Museum, known as the Tootatide Cultural Village. This was a fascinating insight into the tribal way of life. The villagers set up this museum to showcase their culture. There are traditionally built houses for the chief and his wives. We were shown crafts, use of plant life for medicinal purpose, fire and weaponry making, traditional games, and finally treated to song and dance by the scantily clad bush people.
A most enjoyable place to visit.

The drive now becomes more scenic, with our journey taking us over the mountains for our two night stay at Palmwag Lodge.
This is not the best place we have stayed!! (As it is undergoing major reconstruction work) but places are few and far between. The lodge is set in a huge government concessionary area, they buy the land and allow a restricted number of others to rent a piece of it. The land is a conservation area and as there are no fences, the game can wander as it pleases.

It is here that we have found how the Damara live up to their reputation of being the grumpiest and laziest of people.