15 October 2018
Our first cold night of the trip! Ian, unusually, particularly felt it, and was up and down several times to go to the loo and finally to get a blanket for us. I was comfortably cool, but not enough so as t keep me awake. In fact, I had a night of epic dreams, which changed each time my sleep was disturbed.
We finally got up at about 08:00 and sorted out breakfast, waiting for Bugsy to wake, which she did shortly after. Under the watchful eye of a handsome hornbill who sat on a nearby branch, she ate an amazing four Weetabix and made no fuss about taking her first anti-malaria tablet, swallowing it whole with no problem. In fact, her whole mood was delightful, telling me stories about her imaginary grey mice that live in her ears (a story we have been working on for months) and recounting Peppa Pig episodes with perfect recall, laughing all the while.
I walked up to reception to ask where they would recommend us going for the day, and he said definitely Twyfelfontain to see the rock drawings and then maybe the Damara Living Museum. On the way back to the van, I asked one of the staff if we were allowed to climb up the rocks in the campsite and he said absolutely! So that was on my list for later today!
Ian finished packing up and I drove the van down to Twyfelfontain, about 50kms away.
Our guide, Terry, was brilliant and led us through the World Heritage Site, coping very well with Cornelia’s occasional squeal about not wanting to walk or being too hot! He pointed out and described the rock drawings of giraffes, elephants, lions, rhinos, elands etc and we were fascinated by it all, especially the permanent “blackboard” where the young (mostly) males were educated about how to identify different animals by footprint etc in order to hunt and protect. There was also an early map of waterholes, identified by one circle for waterholes created after rainfall (which happens usually during April and May) and two circles for permanent waterholes. He tried to teach me the four “clicks” of their language, which they still speak to this day, and which he will teach to his four month old daughter, Divine, as she grows up.
When we left Twyfelfontain, we set off for the Organ Pipes, which are dolorite columns. But in the parking area, the security guy (teenage boy) seemed a bit “out of it”, enough so to make Ian ask me to turn around and head off for the Petrified Forest instead. We tapped it into the sat nav, and although it tried to make us stop at a few other makeshift forests, Ian followed the hard copy map and was right to do so, as we drew up to the official site. As Cornelia was happily settled on her Kindle after a long hot walk earlier, I said to Ian that I would make lunch while he visited the Petrified Forest. He returned twenty minutes later, glad that he’d gone, but certain that it wouldn’t have been worth disrupting Cornelia to see it. The tree trunks are solid stone (“petrified”) from millions of years ago, when they were washed from glaciers much further south near Antarctica. They have a terrible problem with people stealing bits of “wood”, so the guide had kept a watchful eye on my dodgy-looking husband…!
In his absence, Bugsy had eaten all of her sandwich for a change and was watching another episode of Peppa Pig. Ian ate his sandwich on his lap while I drove us back to Madisa Camp, some 60kms away. We kept our eyes out, but saw no elephants or rhinos. Back at the campsite, I made a bolognese while Cornelia and Ian lit a fire then enjoyed a warm al fresco shower, and then I nipped off for a twenty minute run through the campsite. I had a shower and served dinner, and we all sat together watching the sun set, where we were once again joined by our curious handsome hornbill.
Once the dishes were washed, it was bedtime for Bugsy and after her stories, I cuddled with her until she fell asleep, around 20:45. It was completely dark by then, so safe in the knowledge that there were no mosquitoes inside (with another coil burning away) I went to bed early and lay watching the stars from there.