Published: September 24th 2012August 29th 2012
We wake up early so we are able to get to our destination, Twyfelfontein, during daylight as well as exit Etosha before 10 AM after which we have to pay an additional day in fees. Outside the dawn is breaking with only Venus and Jupiter still visible. Whenever we take a break from packing we go to the patio to see the sunrise and examine a close by tree full of guinea fowl and their behavior as they start leaving. After some time we notice the source of the sounds the previous evening, a giraffe, which after examining us for some time finally decides to leave and goes towards the waterhole.
We walk to the restaurant for breakfast on the interesting boardwalks that connect our cabin with the paved golf cart trail. One reason that we didn't go for dinner was that you had to call for someone to escort you to the restaurant at night and that would have taken likely quite some time. The views all around are great and we enjoy the fresh air as long as the diesel powered golf cart is not passing us by. The restaurant is unusual as the kitchen is in a different location and it doesn't even have electricity which means that even coffee and tea has to be brought in. All of this takes time and while we are relaxed we can hear the German tourists at a nearby table starting to argue with the staff regarding how long it takes. After breakfast (again eggs this time poached for us) we check out and ride the golf cart down to the parking spot.
While we have to exit Etosha before 10AM we still want to see the few remaining waterholes until the exit starting with the Dolomite waterhole which is right next to the Camp. There is a herd of plain zebras and then we see the wildebeest coming in from the savannah. There are also a few giraffes in the distance and quite a few birds as usual.
The road is in a better state than the day before and the going is fast. There are guinea fowl crossing the road and springbok as usual but then as we veer off towards a waterhole we see our first kudu who doesn't seem excited to be seen and first hides and then runs away.
As we visit the remaining two waterholes we observe that the mix of animals has changed from the waterholes in eastern Etosha, as we see more oryx and wildebeest and also the zebra are the rarer mountain zebras and not plain zebras.
But all good things have to end and exactly at 10 AM we exit Etosha and we go through the check out process where the guard is examining our papers and enters the information in his register. We had a great time in Etosha and almost immediately start making plans to visit again sometime in the future not Etosha necessarily but any of the other big national parks in the area.
And then we are off as we exit on a paved highway almost immediately and drive for 60 km to Kamanjab where we again leave the paved highway to go towards Khorixas. The dirt road C35 is in great shape though and it almost feels like we are on a paved road and we make good time to Khorikax. In Khorikax we fill up the gas as it is the last gas station on an almost 700 km stretch for us, check and top up the tires and then we start on the C39. The road starts in a good shape but it becomes progressively worse the farther we get and we have to go at a slower speed than usual. Still we have time so we take it slower and arrive at around 1PM at Petrified Forest National Monument.
We were not sure whether to actually visit the petrified forest as we have been a few times at the Petrified National Park in Arizona, US but in the end we decided to enter to make a comparison between them. The major difference is that in Namibia you cannot enter without a guide who takes you along a set path. While this restrains your movements and imposes a pace on your visit it also gave us an opportunity to get some information about the local flora. After he noticed our interest he started pointing all the different bushes and plants and knew both the latin and english names and the different uses which was really interesting. But the most interesting plant that we saw was the welwitchia plant, a desert plant with only two leaves (even though it looks like it has a lot more). The petrified trees were interesting as usual but not that different from what we have seen previously.
After leaving the petrified forest the road becomes corrugated for quite a few stretches and we get worried about the next day when we have to drive quite some distance on this road. But today we leave it relatively fast and head to Twyfelfontein. We have one more stop before the lodge though as we take a short side road to Wondergat an interesting sinkhole in the desert. The whole area looks more arid than Etosha with less vegetation and a lot more wild and forbidding.
We arrive at the lodge at about 3 pm and the checking in takes quite a bit as you have to park at the reception then you are taken on a tour of the lodge then we have to return to the car and temporarily park in front of the room where we can unload our luggage. After finally checking in and unpacking we go to explore two geological phenomena in the area, the Organ Pipes and the Burnt Mountain. First we go to the Organ Pipes which is quite interesting and similar to what we have seen in Northern Ireland at Giant's Causeway but on a smaller scale. We have the viewpoint area to us for a few minutes before safari tours start to bring other tourists in but we are the only ones to actually descend in the canyon to walk through it which gives us more solitude.
We continue to the end of the road to Burnt Mountain but even though it is sunset when the mountain is supposedly look like it is burning we do not see anything. So we continue a bit on a dirt road that quickly worsens so we stop and take a hike through the area to take a look at the plants and the interesting rock formations. We find quite a lot of stones that are placed in an upright position not sure for what reason, maybe just for fun. However we also see this afterwards in other areas so there might be another explanation.
As the sun is setting we return to the lodge and visit the engravings that are on the grounds and are free to visit as a preview for tomorrow when we go to the nearby Unesco Heritage Site containing a large collection of petroglyphs and engravings. There are two panels which are quite impressive. We then decide to enjoy the sunset from our room and then we eat dinner from our provisions and then retire for the night.