Bird’s-eye view – Yellow-billed oxpeckerAugust 28, 2012
Hoodia Desert Lodge – south of NamibiaAugust 28, 2012
by Marita van Rooyen
A new way to take on the ruggedness of Damaraland at a slow pace is on the back of a camel, a new activity offered by Twyfelfontein Country Lodge.
Frans du Raan, marketing manager for Namibia Country Lodges, explains, “The scenic Twyfelfontein area with its historic rock engravings, volcanic and sandstone geology, panoramic vistas, and endemic flora and fauna offers guests the ideal opportunity to explore the surroundings from the back of a camel. The lack of fences and unlimited space allow the camels to walk in any direction, leaving a light footprint and no pollution of the environment.”
The camels are based at the Aba-Huab Campsite, from where guests can participate in several activities, including short rides of between 15 minutes and half an hour; the so-called Adam and Eve excursions, following off-the-beaten-track routes to exclusive rock art sites; afternoon sundowner rides where guests are introduced to the basics of camel riding-; and tailor-made tours.
Longer trails are offered through the Damaraland wilderness, starting at Twyfelfontein Country Lodge and ending at the Ugab Rhino Camp, Brandberg West. This five-day, six-night safari route extends over 105 km, providing ‘pure adventure on the tracks of elephant and rhino’. The only prerequi-sites to participate in one of these safaris are that guests should be like-minded individuals with a passion for the outdoors, have a reasonable level of physical fitness and good health, and not weigh over 100 kilograms.
The route covers trails over vast plains and past archaic sandstone and petrified dunes, viewing numerous rock engravings and paintings en route. Besides desert-adapted elephant and rhino, game likely to be encountered is ostrich, gemsbok and springbok.
“While exploring the area, our camel train provides a great topic for stunning photographs of marvellous scenery. Initially we lead the camels for a short distance; then you mount and proceed at a walk to become used to the swing and pace of these magnificent desert animals. The more comfortable you become in the saddle, the faster we go.”
The trek includes camping, dinners around a campfire, and time for guests to relax under starry skies and reflect on the day’s ride on the back of a ship of the desert.
This article appeared in the Dec ‘11/ Jan ‘12 edition of Travel News Namibia.