After our delicious breakfast we started at around 7.30am to continue our journey to the north of Namibia towards Damaraland. Approx 350 km of drive are ahead of us. The first hour was quite nice as the street was perfect but then the safari massage in the car started. We passed really very unique rough landscape and could see the massive montain “Brandberg”. And again endless streets with literally no other cars coming along for hours. Only highlight was a donkey carriage. After another hour we saw some Damara people and little huts besides the street. Some women in traditional clothes came onto the street and started dancing and waving their hands to show to their huts. Other were carrying empty water vessels …. our guide told us that we should better not stop on those streets as this is the typical trap for tourists but also for other white people coming along and being helpful. The women would dance on the street and as soon as a car would stop lot´s of men would come out of the bushes and rob the people.
Around midday we arrived our accommodation for that night – the Twyfelfontein Country Lodge. I really loved that Lodge! I was very lucky after I got the last key left from my group that my room was facing towards the impressive landscape and my view was stunning!! Also the main house of the Lodge was really nicely decorated with a pool and three levels on one the bar. I really recommend that place as it came also as such a surprise. https://www.twyfelfontein.com.na/
But before I could enjoy an refreshing drink we had some excursions on our schedule! 🙂
First we went to Twyfelfontein the UNESCO World Heritage side and visited the area with the rock engravings from approx 24000 years ago. The name Twyfelfontein is afrikaans and means kind of “dubios water source” as some early residents had settled there because of that water source. However farmer in 1947 felt that this water source was not reliable and therefore named it Twyfelfontain.
More then 2500 gravings on 200 different rock plates are in that area. Most of them are showing hunting sceneries and animals as well as their foot prints. One of the most famous rock gravings are the one with a kind of dancing Kudu and the lion with his massive long tail. We had to take a guided tour to climb up the rocks and a local guide took us there (100 NAD). The tour took approx 1,5 hours. Don´t forget water and water and a hat as there is no shade at all and the air is really dry!
By the way we noticed something: Our Guide didnt come with us. He only walked us to the cashier asked for a receipt of our 7 entrance fees but we had to pay them by ourself. Although this visit was part of our normal programme and tour and not an optional element. (We will come back to that in a minute ….)
Before we returned to the car I took some pictures from a rock called “Lions mouth” as well ….
We also visited next morning the petrified forrest approx 50 km away from Khorixas. These forrest was found from two farmer in 1940 and is now protected. Is actually more a field of petrified tree trunk which are approc 280 million years old. The trees are not from Namibia the must have come with a massive flood at the end of the ice age.
Before I finish the travelogue for today let me come back to the entrance fee and the receipt. When we arrived at the petriefied forrest it all repeated again: Our driver walked to the cashier asked for the amount of the entrance fee and asked for an receipt written for him and told us that we have to pay 100 NAD for the 1 hour guided tour and entrance. Carla then got really angry and said that we need to discuss that as from her understanding all entrance fees are covered from our travel agency as its part of the programme and not an optional excursion. And she wanted that to be clarified as this could not continue. Our guide also got then angry saying that he doesnt have the entrance fee for us in his guide package only for himself and that we have to clarify that with our travel agency. He would also contact the local agency. Rita and a couple of others were very supportive of Carla´s remark … however we decided to get on our tour first. It seemed that nobody of them had realized that he always asked for an receipt which I had found strange as we had paid the entrance fee and not him so why would he need and receipt? For what? Clever and smart as he was (that´s at least how I had experienced him when it came to some deals and negotiations with local people) I guessed he was trying to increase his tip throughout the trip a bit. He obviously kept his entrance fee as a tip as he didnt come with us, he also barely had any lunch or breakfast so he must keep the daily allowance as well and he might want to claim back the 700 NAD entrance fee for both sites which we actually paid and not him.
So I told the three ladies in my group what I had observed and what my guess was and left it to them to share with their husbands. Some felt that I could be right other didnt want to put rumors out other wanted to confront our guide with our feelings. We decided finally to leave all conversation to Carla as she is an accountant and was still sitting next to him in the car. The plan was to ask him to give her the two receipts as we would like to claim it back to our travel agency and we therefore needed the original receipts and would see how he reacts! If he would give it to her all fine, if he would start to argue … well, we probably had been right with our guess as for what purpose would he need the receipts? He didnt pay the amount so no right to have them. Anyhow he would realise that the game is over and would change his approach for the next visits. And Carla would write an email to our travel agency asking for clarification. Said and done! Guess how he responded? …. He argued with her! Didnt want to give the original receipts and offered to take a picture for us of them ….. So Carla said, she would write to the agency and see what they would come back with ……..
This story and my trip will continue 🙂 Next stop Etosha!! Very exciting to see the big big animals after all the nature and culture. So stay tuned as always, a story about group dynamics, my role and what I learned about myself will follow at the end as a summary picking up some of the stories here and put it in another context …
Yours Ina T.
(Enjoy the stunning view from my terrace that night!)
You know what: I slept at the room marked with the Lion from the rock engravings 🙂