Saturday, November 04, 2006

into Namibia from the southern border

Into Namibia from the southern border

This was not a tour to see the Namib, but a quick trip up to Windhoek with a day trip to Swakopmund. It is a pity that time was short, as the scenery and the open tranquil atmosphere of the Namib desert is soothing to the rat raced soul.

Namibia has only 2 seasons, a long hot summer and a short cold winter. It is now September which should be spring, but here that is no option. The dry heat is not as depressing as humid heat of tropical countries, but the hot day temperatures reach dangerous levels in the sun.

The bright greens of the extraordinary rain season at the start of the year 2006 have matured into softer shades. The color of the landscape in Nambia is back to soft pastel shades which blend in with the peaceful quiet wide open spaces of this country.

The dry semi-desert southern part of Namibia is the habitat of Aloe dichotoma The trees, faintly visible, on the hill are Aloe dichotoma trees.


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It was exhilarating to find such a healthy young Aloe dichotoma tree.
Very few seeds reach this stage. The photo below shows an old tree with dead branches - battle scars dealt out by nature.


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An Aloe dichotoma garden with colorful hardy pelargoniums is at a petrol garage with Bed&Breakfast bungalows. Opposite of the road where the informal shops (photos below) are situated. Gruenau can be seen in the background, it is a very small town. The distance from the border is 120 kilometer and to the next town Keetmanshoop it is 146 kilometer. Few tourists do not stop for petrol here, which is just fine for al concerned in this lonely location. (petrol = gas in the USA)


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A small flower garden on the other side of the aloe dichotoma garden on the photo above. The petunias are in a corner protected by the reed-bush. To see this little corner in the garden in a desert habitat is unbelievable. The very cold winter nights often below freezing and the hot dry summer air that scorch anything green - amazing what can be done.



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Informal shops catering for tourists, at the roadside opposite the Bed&Breakfast. Never be out in the midday sun over here. Note the barren mountains in the background.


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The the elephant is astonishingly realistic. I hope that the pile of hardwood for sale as well as the carved figurines are from dead trees. Namibia has a very low supply of hardwood trees. The camelthorn tree is very hardy but in a harsh climate it grows slowly.

Acacia trees are a very important part of life in the arid regions. The seedpods and seeds of most Acacia trees are edible and used as fodder for farm animals. (The wild herbivores appreciate it too). We saw many small stalls alongside the roads where people were selling bags of Acacia pods in the central parts of Namibia.

Aloe hereoensis in bloom a few kilometres after Keetmanshoop on the way to Mariental.



Aloe hereroensis has a wide distribution throughout Namibia. Photos
left were taken during the good rains in the beginning of the year 2006. Photo right
were taken in September 2006 - the aloe plants are in bloom and the grass so green
on the photo left are now dry with the seeds blown away by the wind.

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The Towns are far apart. We traveled from the Namibian border at the Orange
river

1 comment:

Linda_S. said...

Hello. I have to say that the photos are lovely. The colors surprise me since I was not expecting them to be so bright.