Africa

Quiver Tree Forest and the Giant's Playground

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We bring you a new account of 15-day trip through Namibia that we did for free in August 2016. On this occasion, we followed the route to the capital of the country, but we made a couple of stops along the way that did not leave us indifferent. Do you accompany us to the Quiver Tree Forest and the Giant's Playground?

At six in the morning it was totally daytime, so we picked up the luggage and went to the cashier of the hotel to see if we could get the first Namibian dollars. However, after thinking for a while, the ATM informed us that he could not provide us with currency. "Nothing happens, we'll find a bank later," we told ourselves. At seven we left our cabin in the Felix Unite Camp and we pass by the gas station of the town to fill the tank and start the march. But first we turned to the center of town to try to get money from the bank branch. Unfortunately, the Windhoek Bank seemed determined to deny us cash, so we went to the gas station, had breakfast at the Wimpy and filled the tank. Luckily, we were able to pay for gasoline with South African rands and breakfast with a credit card. Finally, about eight o'clock in the morning we finally headed to Windhoek, the capital of the country.

After an hour and a half of road we arrived at Grünau, where we stopped at the Shell gas station to go to the service and see if we had more luck with the cashier they had there. However, it was also from Windhoek Bank and there was no way to drop the pasta. So we follow the route hoping to have more luck in Keetmanskoop.

The road was long, with hardly any traffic, and the asphalt in that area of ​​the country is a bit more rough but it was in very good condition. There was hardly a shoulder and every few kilometers we found rest areas with a lonely picnic table.

In Keetmanshoop we stopped again to fill the deposit and finally we could get money at the ATM of the Standard Bank. Since we had entered the center of Keetmanshoop for this, we took the opportunity to visit a couple of buildings that still remain since the German colonial era: church, which is currently a museum, and the old imperial post office, which is now the tourist office (it was closed).

15km from Keetmanshoop is the Quiver Tree Forest. It is a curious forest of centennial dichotomas aloes located within the Gariganus farm. To access there we take the C16 road and then the C17, which are unpaved. Although the signs indicated that the maximum speed on that road was 100km per hour, we did not dare to go beyond 50km / h. The reason is that the road was full of potholes and undulations that made the car vibrate badly and even cost control. To access the Quiver Tree Forest you have to do it from the Gariganus Lodge and pay an entrance fee of 75 Namibian dollars per person. Then you have to follow the directions inside the property to a parking area near the forest where you have to leave the car. Curiously, in the garden in front of the house there was the family dog ​​living quietly with an African pig that sniffed some bushes the sea of ​​pancho.

Walk the Quiver Tree Forest It's like being on another planet, because trees have an alien appearance. Also, we were alone most of the time. We found them very photogenic plants. In Namibia, this type of aloe is called "quiver tree" because San hunters used their bark to make quiver for their arrows. While we were walking and taking pictures, we noticed that among many rocks there were nests of a kind of black marmot that saw the horizon from the top of some rocks. Very funny them.

After the visit to the Quiver Tree Forest we headed to Giant's Playground, a large area of ​​land that contains some very interesting rock formations, located a few kilometers away. To access the Giant's Playground, take the C17 road (leaving the farm on the left) and drive a few kilometers. On the right hand side you will see a fenced property with a sign on the door that says in English: «Giant's Play Ground, enter at your own risk». We go down to open the fence and enter with the car. We continue straight for a couple of kilometers and leave the car in the parking area. On the farm we had been told that there was a marked path and that it took about twenty minutes to travel it.

Nothing had prepared us for the traumatic experience we were going to suffer in the confines of the giant's courtyard. Interestingly, it was one of the few occasions throughout our trips in which we seriously doubted if we were going to get out of there alive. But I'm getting ahead. As usual, everything went well at first and nothing seemed to indicate it was a dangerous place. We start the tour by following some signs with arrows that indicate the way forward. Thus, we walked among walls of very curious rocks. It seems that some colossal beings have played with the surrounding rocks as if they were a construction game for children. And looking at them, you wonder how it is possible that these rocks are placed like this in a place where there are not even hills. Is it possible that the wind has eroded these rocks so much to fragment them in this way? It is an unusual landscape.

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