Travels with V

Namibia

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Travelling on a rocky road

Grootberg, Damaraland

We are in the desolate but beautiful Damaraland. The scenery keeps changing as we drive, we leave fertile plains and head into a hilly landscape sometimes with flat parts that are littered with rocks. Here and there we see a cabin and sometimes a herd of goats.
Damaraland is the only part of Namibia where the land isn’t owned by big farmers, but in a kind of collective way. People can apply for a piece of land where they may build a hut and keep some cattle. But it’s difficult to understand how they can find anything to eat in the rocky ground.

Yes, there’s lots of rocks in Damaraland. In large areas there’s only rocks on other rocks, in all sizes, you can’t see any soil between them. This is the remains of mighty mountains that erosion has ground down. Look closely and you’ll see that many of the rocks are white. That’s because it’s quarz in different forms.
Everywhere along the roads there are primitive stands where rocks are for sale. Sometimes girls in “traditional dress”, meaning bare-breasted, try to attract the few passing cars.

OTHERS USE BIG ANIMALS OF PAPIER-MACHE AS BAIT

We’re driving along gradually worsening roads and the last twenty miles are just dirt roads with lots of pot holes. We must stop the car and open a little hatch in the luggage compartment, otherwise it will be filled with sand. Cars throw up so much sand in the air that meeting one makes you virtually blind for a couple of seconds.

High up in a mountain pass we have to turn left and drive straight up a very steep road that is more like a path for cows. It’s narrow and full of boulders so even though we drive really slow we’re thrown helplessly left and right as the car bumps up on 4wd. But finally we’re up on a high plateau, and the views are simply awesome.

This is Grootberg, so remote that many Namibians we talk to have never heard of it. Here also wildlife comes right into the lodge area. A flock of Chacma baboons walk past us looking for food in the dry grass. They are bigger and taller and with longer snouts than the baboons we’ve seen before.
Birds called Monteiros hornbill come each morning and sit on the veranda railing. And antelopes and sometimes lions roam on the plain.

Staying in Grootberg lodge makes you spend lots of time just trying to grasp this otherworldly landscape. But we also spend some time visiting a village where Nama people show us some of their traditions and dances. They also explain the four different clicks they use in their language. Clicks are common in a couple of African languages, but they have different meanings.

The rainy season in approaching here too, and one afternoon a torrential rain pours down on us with lightning flashing on all sides. The path leading to our cabin is transformed into a muddy waterfall so we have to stay inside. And in the main building the restaurant people are mobilized with buckets and mops as water is pushed in under the windows, drowning the floor. Electricity is gone so we eat in the dark. But eventually the light is back and when that happens the kichen staff burst out in a swinging show for us guests.

RAIN AND THUNDER MOVING CLOSER
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Därför hamnar vi ibland i avlägsna indianbyar i Guatemalas berg eller bland andetroende bybor på en ö i Indonesien. Men också på mer kända platser som Machu Picchu i Peru eller sandstränderna i Goa. Allt sett genom våra ögon och kameror.

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