Thursday, June 21, 2012

Skeleton Coast

Today was a travel day as we drove about 50 miles up the Skeleton Coast which is aptly named for the huge shipwrecked tankers that have washed up on the remote oats and now stand as ghost ships in the pounding surf.  We encountered a massive cargo ship that sat eerily in the surf zone with the bridge clearly visible above the surf line.  It makes you wonder what happened to the crew in such a desolate place.  We turned into some spectacular mountains as we headed inland and up into the high desert.  The scenery was like the Southwest of he US with huge open ranges and geometric shaped mountains.  It reminded me of Mexican Hat in Utah near Moab.  We stopped at a Twefelfontain which is a park that contains the largest collection of San bushman rock art in the world. 

The San bushman carved figures of animals into the face of the sandstone rock.  We took a one hour tour of the valley and witnessed hundreds of carvings depicting elephant, lion, oryx, zebra and more.  The scenes were carved between 6000 and 200 years ago.  In one scene there is a lion that has a human hand at the end of his tail.  This image is purported to depict a shaman who had the ability to take the form of a lion in order to hunt.  We were impressed by the imagery and the beautiful setting.  We then got back on the roaweans eventually we reached a village where we met a 4x4 transfer that took us another 45 minutes over rough roads to Damaraland Camp.  This camp is a great example of a community partnership where locals have employment and responsibility for managing the private reserve.  The area is famous for the rare desert adapted elephants that inhabit the dunes and dry ever beds where very little rain ever falls. In fact, it is the damp fog from the ocean nearby that brings life sustaining water in the form of mist and dew which gives the area life.  The camp's setting is spectacular with great views out over a wide valley and lots of pyramid and table top shaped mountains glowing orange and red in the setting sun.  Tomorrow we search for elephants - yeah!

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