even though we’re working in namibia we still get australian public holidays because technically we’re just here temporarily. so thanks to the queen we had monday off – a rare opportunity to do some serious exploring before the shooting begins. it was tough to decide on where to go, given the vast array of options namibia offers, but in the end we decided to head north to an area called damaraland. originally it was just going to be the three of us but we recruited most of the vfx crew and it ended up being seven of us spread over two 4x4s!
animal sightings were few and far between – we saw some springbok, some ostriches and lots of goats, but that was about it. the road signs are just as good though!
we stayed both nights at camp xaragu. despite its very remote location it was one of the nicest campgrounds i have ever stayed in. the sites were roomy and comfortable, the toilets were sparkly clean, and every morning they would heat water for hot showers. they even had a pool!
on sunday we checked out twyfelfontein, which was listed as a world heritage site in 2007. the region is famous for its very old rock paintings which are estimated to be 2,000-6,000 years old! they are remarkably well preserved and the drawings are simple but very expressive. some of the paintings were used as maps to mark locations where water could be found. our ancestors even had a system of marking permanent vs. seasonal water sources!
it was a really hot day and poor nayou was exhausted after a late night around the campfire and all the excitement. lucky his bff bodie was around to help him out!
the visitor center was built out of flat rocks and rusty drumcans.
our next stop was to the organ pipe rocks. they are located in a small valley about 6km from twyfelfontein. the rocks were formed when magma was pushed up in columns and cooled in place. to be honest i found them to be a bit underwhelming, but the riverbed on which they are located was pretty. plus it gave dmo a chance to fly his quadcopter around 🙂
the last stop we made was at the living museum. this is a small area where some of the native damara people have set up a traditional village where you can see how the people live (or lived). i asked the our guide whether they lived there but she replied they live in a “modern village” about 2kms away. we’re all wondering whether they change into their western clothes to commute back and forth? anyway, we got to learn how to make fire, jewellery and the healing benefits of elephant dung. this was probably the highlight of our trip for me!
as we approached our campsite that evening we saw huge amounts of smoke covering the horizon. it turns out there was a bush fire in the region! we weren’t in danger which was lucky. instead we were treated to a gorgeous sunset.
looks like mordor:
on monday we wound our way home along the skeleton coast. this stretch of coast gets its name because it is really barren. just miles and miles of sand and rock as far as the eye can see.
the route took us through welwitschia valley, a small part of the already small region in which the welwitschia plant grows. these plants are a wonder of nature, living up to 1,000 years old (yes, one thousand)!
the plants are an ecosystem unto themselves:
we had the obligatory flat tire with accompanying shows of manliness:
and a nice stop at the beach for some afternoon tea (with obligatory getting-the-car-stuck-in-the-sand event):
all in all it was a great weekend. we got back dusty and tired but in the best way possible!
dmo shot some great footage with his gopro (mounted on the car) as well as with his quadcopter. i put all of our footage into a highlight reel if you’re interested!