The Giant's Playground, Namibia, May 2016

the giant’s playground

While exploring the Giant’s Playground, a vast and rugged expanse of balancing basalt and dolerite rocks in Namibia, we were fortunate to encounter one of the region’s rarest creatures.

Chibi Totoro explores The Giant's Playground, Namibia, May 2016

chibi totoro, master tracker

Thanks to the keen sense of smell and sharp eyesight of Chibi Totoro, who tracked the animal for us, we were able to approach this extraordinary beast entirely undetected…

Cat Rocks, The Giant's Playground, Namibia, May 2016

… until we were in a suitable position to get a good view. Behold, the elusive and enigmatic felis silvestris igneous!

The Giant's Playground, Namibia, May 2016

felis silvestris igneous soaking up the sun in its natural habitat

Gira in the studio

Back home in my studio resident felis catus and amateur zoologist Gira is intrigued by the pictures we snapped of felis silvestris igneous, and feels a strong kinship with his distant relative…

Gira & Cat Rock!

… something in the eyes, perhaps?

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

golden crown & bark of a quivertree

… these are a few of my favourite things.

And there was much opportunity for the gathering of these favourite things on our recent roadtrip across Namibia.

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

folded, rippled, wrinkled (fish river canyon, african elephant)

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

elephant petroglyph  |  subtle mineral colours, dolerite columns

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

purples, russets

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

fine forms, more mineral hues

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

black & white, circles & stripes

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

bone dry, desaturated

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

earthy harmonies, rounded rhythms

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

bright brandberg hills… and a mystery paint spillage in the desert

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

perfectly patterned, eminently engravable  |  ancient petroglyphs

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

desert car wreck… adorned

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

a decaying structure’s textures & patterns (goageb ghost town)

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

lines (looking up: hot air balloon cables,
looking down: wildlife highways & byways)

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

namib desert sands: infinitely intriguing colours, forms…

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

textures…

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

… and patterns

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

pleasing points (rondavel thatch, starling silhouette)

line, shape, colour, texture and pattern... found in namibia, may 2016

all these elements coalesce in the simplicity of a dead tree at dusk

namibian wildlife, may 2016

a giraffe enjoys a mopane leaf snack

The road signs in Namibia will alert you to the possibility of wild animals crossing…

namibian wildlife, may 2016

.. a lot!

namibian wildlife, may 2016

And one should indeed take care…

namibian wildlife, may 2016

… travelling “dead slow” when called upon to do so.

Hurrying your journey, as with many things in life, is ill-advised…

namibian wildlife, may 2016

ground squirrels sharing a secret

… you might miss something hidden, something magical.

namibian wildlife, may 2016

well camouflaged
[female steenbok  |  red-crested korhaan]

namibian wildlife, may 2016

the strutting of stuff
[ostrich]

namibian wildlife, may 2016

a proud kudu with his elegant harem

namibian wildlife, may 2016

a southern pale chanting goshawk on the lookout for a tasty morsel  |  sociable weavers gather nesting material

namibian wildlife, may 2016

red hartebeest chillin’  |  black-faced impala playing

namibian wildlife, may 2016

family time
[giraffes  |  blue wildebeest}

namibian wildlife, may 2016

solo time
[burchell’s zebra (and a distant springbok)  |  blue wildebeest]

namibian wildlife, may 2016

sweetwater, the stuff of life
[burchell’s zebra  |  springbok]

namibian wildlife, may 2016

dassie sentry, keeping watch over the youngsters
(it’s hard to believe that the dassie’s closest living relative is the elephant!)

namibian wildlife, may 2016

african elephants and a black-backed jackal in the golden hour

namibian wildlife, may 2016

more warnings: warthogs and kudu crossing

Wishing y’all a wild weekend!

quivertree forest, namibia, may 2016

dawn breaks over the quivertree forest (namibia, may 2016)

quivertree forest, namibia, may 2016
quivertree forest, namibia, may 2016

it is mysterious and beautiful in dawn’s gilded light

quivertree forest, namibia, may 2016

this forest spirit is enchanted

quivertree forest, namibia, may 2016

and the sociable weavers seem to like it too

quivertree forest, namibia, may 2016

as the sun rises, the scaly bark of the quivertrees…

quivertree forest, namibia, may 2016

… appears as hammered copper and gold

quivertree forest, namibia, may 2016

good morning, dassie

quivertree forest, namibia, may 2016

good morning, quivertree

" "

excerpted from ‘Namibia’, by Chris McIntyre, published by Bradt

“The quivertree or kokerboom, Aloe dichotoma, occurs sporadically over a large area of southern Namibia and the northern Cape [South Africa], usually on steep rocky slopes. Its name refers to its use by the Bushmen [San] for making the quivers for their arrows – the inside of a dead branch consists of only a light, fibrous heart which is easily gouged out to leave a hollow tube.

The quivertree is specially adapted to survive in extremely arid conditions: its fibrous branches and trunk are used for water storage, as are its thick, succulent leaves, while water lost through transpiration is reduced by waxy coatings on the tree’s outside surfaces. Roots, though, are shallow, making the tree vulnerable to high winds and, in common with most desert-adapted flora, its growth rate is very slow. Its beautiful yellow flowers bloom in winter.”

quivertree forest, namibia, may 2016

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

southern border crossing (south africa –> namibia)

I’ve been away, soaking up the winter sunshine, on a ±5,500km roadtrip through Namibia’s vast, arid, ever-changing & starkly beautiful terrain. (In case you’re wondering, as anyone unfamiliar with the lay of Africa’s land might be, Namibia is situated in southwest Africa, straddling the Tropic of Capricorn and alongside the South Atlantic Ocean. It shares its borders with South Africa to the south, Angola & a sliver of Zambia to the north, and Botswana to the east.)

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

the fish river canyon

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

heading north through the southern kalahari

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

balancing basalt rocks, the giant’s playground

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

fellow travellers, etosha pan

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

vingerklip (afrikaans: rock finger), a natural obelisk sculpted by the wind,
and the iconic flat-topped mountains of the ugab valley

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

tiny termites build mighty mounds

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

desolate damaraland scape and split red sandstone slabs at ǀui-ǁais (damara/nama: jumping waterhole) a.k.a. twyfelfontein (afrikaans: uncertain spring)

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

the burnt mountain (black shale shimmers amidst the dominant sandstone) and the organ pipes (angular columns of dolerite formed some 120 million years ago)

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

closing in on the brandberg mountain,
a ravine-split massif of granite (and namibia’s highest mountain at 2573 metres) that dominates the surrounding desert plains

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

into the desert

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

crossing the tropic

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

magical mountain colours, mighty oryx (gemsbok)

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

desert camp, near sesriem canyon

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

over the namib desert and sossusvlei’s…

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

… red star dunes

namibia roadtripping, may 2016

homeward bound

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