30 Sep 2013

World’s largest meteorite & Bushman tribe

Namibia: Tsumkwe

Today was a day of record breakers.  First up was the Hoba meterorite just outside Grootfontein.  This was discovered by a farmer in 1921 when he noticed something metallic looking protruding from the ground.  It turned out to be a 60 ton lump of near pure iron & nickel, making it both the largest and heaviest meteorite ever discovered.  Since then people have chipped and carved away at it but its record status seems safe for the moment. 

Next, was a living record breaker – the world’s largest baobab tree.  The area just outside Tsumkwe, not far from the Botswana border, is home to some behemoth specimens of this most portly of trees.  At this late stage in the dry season they are not looking their best, with only a few wizened leaves left on them.  But their scale is still impressive – the largest a whooping 30m around its base. 

That afternoon we headed 25km north to the Hunters Living Museum and historic centre.  This is an affordable and well run insight into the traditional way of the legendary bushmen of the Kalahari.  Less than a century ago these people still lived a near stone-age existence, although today they are more likely to be found wearing shabby t-shirts and jeans than loin cloths.  Nonetheless their traditional skills are being kept alive and we watched them making fire with two sticks (something which they made look very easy, but definitely is not!) , weaving string from grass fibres, and whittling hunting arrows which they then coat with highly toxic plant extracts.  


Josi tried her hand at making the typical ostrich shell jewellery while John tried to impress them with his non-existent archery and spear throwing skills. 

The road back to Tsumkwe was deep heavy sand and we had to keep our momentum up to plough through.  We had heard similar conditions should be expected on the minor road leading east into Botswana that we would be taking tomorrow, so an early start was in order.  

Sorry to be spending our last night in Namibia, we partied the night away in that most British of ways…playing scrabble…

Days in Africa: 24
Km driven: 616km

Km total: 3,330km

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