Spitzkoppe – Organ Pipes – Palmwag

The so-called Organ Pipes are situated near the small inselberg of Burnt Mountain, west of the town of Khorixas in Namibia. They are a rock formation that comprises a group of columnar basalts which resemble organ pipes. The Organ Pipes were formed about 150 million years ago as the result of the intrusion of liquid lava into a slate rock formation, which was exposed over time by erosion. Palmwag is the perfect place for contemplating all these extremely diverse desert landscapes where the last black rhinos and the desert elephants live.

🙂 Bushman’s paintings. Desert elephants! Cultural melting pot!

🙁 Not paying the fee at Organ Pipes.

Saturday, 2 January 2021: Spitzkoppe – Organ Pipes – Palmwag (345Km) 31C -19C -12C!

Up at 05h30 for dawn – again stunning sun rise – without a doubt one of the best campsites in the world. 

Met our guide at 07h00 at Reception in our vehicle for a tour of the Busman’s Paradise Rock Paintings. 2,000-4,000 years old…rhino, giraffe, lion and men hunting / dancing. He was brilliant! So informative and friendly.

He demonstrated the 4 base clicks as well as other convincing sounds!

Then to the iconic bridge for photos.

… and to the main lodge for the snake photo. Amazing.

Then we climbed to the lookout point which offered a stunning vista.

We were shown the local ‘coffee beans’ – the plant flowers and then the seeds form in pods which are then boiled with water.

Damara milk bush / melkbos (Euphorbia damarana) is a lifeless shrub which is very poisonous. … and an endemic species at Palmwag in Namibia. It has been reported that the toxic milky latex of the plant is capable of killing animals and humans except rhino and oryx who feed upon it. If a human has an open would and comes into contact with the milk it will kill them.

Had breakfast of burger and chips at restaurant before heading off.

It was a loooong drive on another straight road. Passed the Brandberg which means “fire mountain” in German and the local Afrikaans, a literal translation of the tribal Damara name, Dâures. The appellation wasn’t inspired by the scorching temperatures but by the glowing scarlet colour of the massif first at sunrise, then at sunset. It is situated approximately 30km north west of the small town of Uis and is the highest mountain in Namibia at 2,573m and stands out as an imposing feature in the otherwise flat gravel plains of the central Namib Desert.

While you’re in Damaraland, the Organ Pipes are just a short drive away from Twyfelfontein and the Petrified Trees. Each basalt rock has a different hue, ranging from grey to reddish orange, further exposed over time as the land erodes away. It doesn’t take very long to walk a short loop to the exit and is an interesting geological site to photograph and visit. There was a young boy who was not uniform demanding $50 from us which we refused to pay. The organ pipes were underwhelming for such a long detour. Later we discovered that there is indeed a $50 charge to see the organ pipes- we felt really bad!! There really should be a sign indicating the tariffs and he should be in uniform to give him credibility…

Raced onwards to Palmwag Camp site. We had campsite No. 1 which is probably the worst as right next to lodge and generator and staff arriving in the morning – so definitely choose 9 or 10.

There were a few signs warning me that elephants could get close to the camp because they’re used to drinking out of the pool at Palmwag Lodge which was slightly unnerving!

Had  hoped to have sufficient time to relax by pool but as soon as we arrived we went on a game drive in search of the desert elephants.  The terrain here is incredibly harsh.

Elvyn was our guide and just such a lovely man. Had to admire his driving technique across the most hostile terrain we have ever navigated across boulders and rocks.

We found rhino, lion and elephant tracks. Followed three ellies including a calf. They have various adaptations to desert life including longer front legs (easier to walk on steep dunes) and bigger feet (greater surface area for sand). He told us (not sure about this one) that they have two stomachs – one for food and one for water to give to their babies…and glands with water to cool them down? He said that when the Herero hunt them they eat the meat, use the skin and drink the water from the stomach!

We enjoyed a sundowner with a stunning vista – first time sampling Namibian red wine- it was ok.

Had dinner at the Lodge – delicious oryx steaks. Sat at Boma to finish wine and then headed to bed.

Go to: Palmwag – Epupa Falls

Go Back to: Spitzkoppe

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