September 11, 2013

BUSH TELEGRAPH – WHAT A GREAT DAY IN DAMARALAND!


As part of our commitment to guiding excellence throughout Africa, EcoTraining strikes up partnership with various companies across the continent. Our instructors share and impart their expertise, the base of knowledge is widened and the future of nature guiding is ensured.

Instructor Mark Gunn is currently in neighbouring Namibia and sent through this update:

“Here I am, I have finally arrived. A four day trip from home in Mpumalanga, by car, plane and a huge converted game viewer Land Rover…

First night in Namibia was spent at Chameleon Backpackers in Windhoek…

Day three saw myself and two students from Naan ku se Lodge near Windhoek drive up to Outjo. A fantastic country lodge called Ombinda, meaning warthog in Herero that serves the biggest chicken cordon bleu on earth.

Day four, we collected the three guides from Erindi Lodge and Lena, the area manager for Wilderness in town, and headed for Khorixas. Still over a hundred km’s to go. A total overland trip in excess of 600km, what a gas!

Damaraland, primordial, excessively beautiful, very dry. This valley reminds me of scenes from the Negev desert and areas around the Dead Sea. The hills and sand are silent witness to the aeons of time. This is one of the oldest landscapes on Earth. The oldest desert in the world is just down the road.

The gemsbok and the elephant are the denizens of this coarse, rough, dry landscape. This land needs my attention, I have an insatiable need to explore and find out what is out here. This is an intimidating land. Here you need knowledge, here you need skill to guide. If something goes wrong on a drive…

We went on a drive this morning. It is cold, the clouds had blown in from the coast less than 100 km’s away. This is the skeleton coast. Here the cold comes on a daily basis. It warms up by 10am and the wind starts at 2pm. It blows right into the night.

This is the dorsland. No rain and the wind sucks out whatever moisture you brought with you. We saw a desert black rhino and lots of oryx today. The geology is fantastic. A land of dolerite, sandstone and shale. Ancient and unforgiving.

Afternoon walk into the sandstone ridges around the camp. Within 20 minutes I realized that these were not just sandstone ridges but actually fossilized sand-dunes. Wow! This epiphany put a whole new perspective and appreciation onto what we were looking at. Ancient and exceptional, this is a landscape shaped by the wind, in the past as well as now. Water also played its part. The evidence of waterfalls down the eroded cliffs of the fossilized sand-dunes. Minerals brought by the water have bonded with the sand.  The surrounding sandstone, being softer has eroded and left the waterfall proud of the surface. Big wow! What a great day!”

For more information on EcoTraining’s courses, visit www.ecotraining.co.za.

(Thanks for sharing Mark, looking forward to the other updates!)


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