Just south of the ‘Torra Conservative’ starts the ‘Damaraland’. The ‘Huab River’ appears to be the natural cut off point as scenery changes completely. The Damara tribe is a minority tribe in Namibia, that inhabits this desert beauty. Literally, driving around the corner from ‘Pillar the Rock’, this spectacular view came up.
Sparsely grassed, otherwise empty plains as far as the eye can see. A few sand covered rock formations lined the horizon.
This Mountain Range has a slightly different, sharper look to the previous one up north. Thin layer sheets run through the ranges, which are formed by the slate rock.
As it is amazing to look at, slate rock comes with its own risks. The broken edges can be incredibly sharp. I have been warned by a few people to make sure that I have at least 2 spare wheels. These rocks have caused plenty of tyres being slashed open. I crossed a dry riverbed and noticed a few tyre tracks behind the riverbed. No rocks, no soft sand, just a lot of space.
As far as I could drive, I parked Zimba and climbed up a slate rock formation. There was an amazing view over the riverbed in the northern direction.
It seems that riverbeds are used as connecting roads in to and out of the desert. In southwestern direction, open plains and slate rock mountains as far as the eye can see. Some were half covered in red desert sands. Astonishing was the fact, that plants and scrubs seem to thrive up here.
Even a fair sized tree got a hold on these rocks. I was intrigued by the tracks in the dry riverbed, which appeared as a two-lane highway in the desert.
My exploring senses kicked in full swing as I drove along. Always cautious about soft sand, this river sand was fairly dense. Large green trees lined the riverbed and riverbanks. Even though this river is dried out on the surface, signs of water beneath the surface were obvious.
Not only by these dried out muddy mosaic patterns. This was just amazing. Dry rocks and sand, yet large green leafed trees.
Was there some movement behind that tree? Yes, there was.
I walked around to have a better view and angle and there he was. A lone desert elephant bull. Just magnificent. I followed him around the river bend to a tree on the edge of the river.
Even though with plenty of greens around him, he was particularly fond of the higher branches.
He pulled a fair size branch down and stuffed it little by little into his mouth.
He did keep a good eye out on me but wasn’t bothered by me at all.
Not a single sign off aggression. I had a good look at him too.
Even though fully grown and of fair age, his tusks weren’t very long. He was also a smaller, stumpier build than other elephants I have seen before. Nevertheless, a gentle giant enjoying his lunch.
I couldn’t believe my luck to get to see a desert elephant at close range in this vast land. This could possibly be the last time I come across these, my favourite giants.
The real issue at this time off day was the scorching sun. Intrigued by what else I may find in this dry river, I followed the river tracks southwest. It was time for a good rest under a shady, but thorny Acacia Tree. I was still amazed by the beauty of this landscape. The sands, the rocks, the large leafy trees, all combined in different colours. The afternoon winds picked up enormous strength. The wind gusts were so strong, that it pushed sandstorms through this riverbed. I would have enjoyed exploring this seemingly dry oasis a bit more, but nature had other ideas.
Instead, I turned out off the riverbed on to another endless amount of sand space. Surprisingly, the sand was dense and easily driven on, whilst Zimba got his fair share of sandblasting.
A sand dune/slate rock combination appeared to be a lookout point, according to tyre tracks leading up the sand dune. As I made my way to the top, the winds seemed even more intense.
Leaning against the winds and quickly turning around to take a photo of the desert beauty. The sandstorms in the distance are clearly visible. It was a magical view despite the gusts.
The mountains I passed this morning lined the horizon before ending on an even and sandy area. Just a single tree was able to grow.
Looking in a western direction, the endless view continued with sand covered slate rock hills and mountains. How plants survive in these conditions is astonishing.
A tree line in the distance showed another dry riverbed.
This would be a fabulous camping spot, in between those tall green timbers, possibly attracting an elephant or two?
I found a perfect mushroom shaped, large tree, which gave enough shelter from sun and winds right off the riverbed express.
The combination of lush green and arid brown seems controversial, yet complimenting.
Impressive was the size of some of the trees standing here.
Not all were still standing though. Water or elephant force toppled a lot of these impressive tall timbers.
Sand dunes and slate rocky outcrops lined the riverbed’s distance. This was another desert oasis camp spot, which I had all to myself.
I was contemplating staying a few nights here, but I am slowly running out of time.
As I was collecting firewood, the sun was setting lower over the mountains out west.
I kept observing the area for possible wildlife to pass by. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Nevertheless, the surroundings were mesmerising.
The fire was lid by the time the last sun rays were fading over the mountains. The meanwhile chilly gusty winds burnt the fire rather quickly, good thing I didn’t run out of firewood.