Tag Archives: world heritage

Damaraland expedition (3): The last survivors

Monday 21st of August. Year 2017. Uis.

It was not in our plans to spend a night in Uis. Therefor I didn’t look to the satellite images from that part in the border of Damaraland. Uis was in the road map that we had, but let’s say it is not easy to find the roads when there are no signs. We left the town thinking that we were going towards Twelfontein but after driving for more than 100 kilometres we realized we were going in the wrong direction!

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In the borders of Damaraland we could find some trees and huge termite nests

We realized because after 100 km we saw the first road sign telling us that in 10 kilometres there was a crossing of two dusty roads. That crossing didn’t appear in the road that we thought we were following. What a mistake! Instead of driving back we took the crossing to the left and lucky us that the new road was not corrugated. We could reach 120 km/h with no bumps for almost 150 kilometres.

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A coloured lizard in Twelfontein

One of the things that we wanted to find out in Damaraland were the desert elephants. And in that road was the first place were we saw danger road signs because of the possibility of having an encounter with the biggest land mammal on Earth. Desert elephants are adapted to walking on the sand of the desert, have the knowledge of finding water where you and I wouldn’t find it and when they eat they don’t break tree branches because they know that damaging trees in the desert could mean killing them, which would mean no food for next year. They are found in Damaraland basically in the dry riverbeds. However, the guard from Save the Rhino Camp told us they were far from the places we wanted to drive through. At that moment they were in the mountains.

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Engravings of animal footprints. Can you see the elephant one?

After five hours driving, the last two just for 40 kilometres, we arrived to Twelfontein. This is a World Heritage Site in Damaraland where the Bushmen did spectacular wall engravings. We booked a guide that explained us the history of that place in the hottest day of our travel to Namibia. We were sweating while the guide told us that the Bushmen used those engravings to teach young people about the animals of the zone and how to hunt them. There are giraffes, lions, rhinos, elephants… And in some rocks there are maps where the Bushmen used to indicate the waterholes of the zone. Those engravings are older than 3000 years.

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The lion with a hand in the tail

It was midday and we were hungry. We didn’t want to cook because we were tired and we decided to try the restaurant of the Twelfontein Country Lodge. The lodge is incredible. It is found behind some big red rocks, it has a waterfall, some grass to lay down and the building itself made of wood and straw is the perfect retreat. We had self service lunch, which is something typical in Namibia, and we ate different kind of meat, rice and fruit.

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Twelfontein Country Lodge

We also wanted to see the Burnt Mountain, which was at the exit of the Desolation Valley before reaching Twelfontein. However, because we had to change our plans, we could not see this geological feature in Damaraland. But the next stop was the Petrified Forest.

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The explorer

This was our last spot that we wanted to find and we could. Close to Khorixas, the Petrified Forest, is a massive desert site with full of petrified trunks laying on the land. They were sequoias in the old continent of Gondwana which was formed by the actual Africa, South America, India, Australia and Antarctica.

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Can you see the trunk rings?

Some million years ago, when Gondwana already existed, it was located in a wetter position on the Earth. Big sequoias grew between the actual Tanzania and Botswana. In a massive flood through an old river those trunks where transported thousands of kilometres till were now you find the Petrified Forest. The trunks were buried and a chemical process transformed them in stone. It is also known that some of these trunks can also be found nowadays in South America.

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Petrified sequoia

We spent the night in Khorixas, a little bit north than our planned night stay. The next day we had more than 400 kilometres to drive towards the north of Namibia, to Opuwo.

 

Tuesday 22nd of August. Year 2017. Khorixas.

As we were farther north than planned we had time for a last visit in the border of Damaraland: the Vingerklip. It is a geological feature like the ones you can find in Monument Valley, USA. It is not far from Khorixas and it is spectacular.

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Monument Valley? No, Damaraland!

If you ever sleep close to this place, go there. After passing by some incredible tall termite nests we considered the end of our Damaraland expedition, without any doubt one adventure that we will never forget. Those landscapes, those colours, the loneliness, the lack of communication, the lack of resources, the lack of everything…

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The Vingerklip
Two Traveling Texans

 

Our top 5 villages in Europe

When we travel we love visiting big metropolis, but we love even more the quietness and authenticity of the rural villages that can be found in the middle of nowhere. By driving far from the crowds we have discovered amazing towns in our old continent.

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Laura in one of the streets of Hallstatt

It has been a long time thinking about writing a post on our 5 favourite villages in Europe to spread the word about them. Of course they are our own selection among all the villages that we’ve visited together to date, but there are still plenty of villages awaiting for us to visit them! The order in this post is merely chronological, since we wouldn’t be able to choose among all those little wonders 🙂

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Back to the past in Himeji

We don’t know anyone that has been to Japan and doesn’t want to go back at some point. Japan is an amazing country and, although we are happy about the trip that we did in 2015, we know that someday we will return to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Tokyo, Kyoto and Miyajima are in the beaten track, but there are some other destinations that surely deserve a visit. An example of this is the city of Himeji, which has one of the most beautiful castles we’ve ever seen. Of course we love European medieval castles, but the Himeji Castle was something totally new for us. We felt as a Samurai when we saw it.

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One of our first pictures of the Himeji Castle

Himeji can be easily reached from Osaka in less than one hour by train, so why don’t you keep reading and add Himeji to your bucket list? 🙂

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The secrets of “The Last Supper” in Milano

Milano seems to be a synonym for shopping and economy in Italy. But for us, Milano had a hidden jewel that we were not willing to miss. In Milano you can appreciate one of the masterpieces of Leonardo da Vinci: the world-renowned mural painting called “The Last Supper” (1494-1498). The painting represents the scene of the last supper that Jesus had with his apostles, as it was explained in the Gospel of John. Do you want to know where you can visit this masterpiece that has given rise to admiration and spectulation all around the world? Just keep reading!

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Laura couldn’t wait to see the painting!

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Poblet Monastery, a Cistercian abbey in Catalonia

We do love monasteries. We love to get lost among their stones, to walk through the cloister, to sit in the church and to imagine the lifes of those monks or nuns that used to live therein some centuries ago. Sometimes we don’t need to go much far to visit impressive monasteries.

We have already posted in this blog about Montserrat, a true symbol of Catalonia which is still in use today. And we have also written about Siurana, one of the most beautiful villages in Catalonia, located in the Tarragona province. Well, we visited Siurana from a hotel that was placed next to one of the must-see monuments in Catalonia: the Poblet Monastery, a World Heritage site since 1991. Do you want to know what you can find if you just drive 1 hour and 30 minutes from Barcelona? Keep reading!

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Views from the second floor of the cloister. Have a look at the Gothic dome!

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