Tuesday, June 5, 2012


thank you for giving me the pleasure of sharing here, looking at the photos and writing these words is almost as good as being back in namibia... it's 14th may now and we're on our way to damaraland and another camp...

mowani  mountain camp
but first some sights we saw along the way...

 we passed herero villages

and more local traffic

we're going to brandberg mountain in the kunene region of southern damaraland, to see the 'white lady'. painted by bushmen 3000-5000 years ago.

a guide is required to take you. it was a 45 minute hike each way and we had arrived at noon, with temps around 36c, 98 fahrenheit!  zelna, our lovely guide made it easier to bear by pointing out animals, birds, flora and fauna along the way. 


the painting site

bushman rock painting, and the famous white lady of brandberg. fascinating! these are so well preserved, the detail is remarkable. it is truly a privilege to see.

continuing on the dusty dirt road, so grateful for cold drinks and aircon in the truck after the noonday hike! and dear zelna never even perspired. we passed another craft market. mamas and babies and crafts oh my.
i got out and said hello. smiles all around me. do you know how lovely african smiles are?
i told the mamas i had something to give, would that be alright? they nodded yes, and when i went back to the truck to get the pockets and treasures, i saw the children had all been lined up sitting in the sand with their legs outstretched, waiting.

 but they didn't stay in that position long. with eyes wide open,

they began to run to me

 hee hee

after the children had all received a pocket and candy (i had lots of help passing them out) i saw the mamas looking at the pockets. so i hurried back to the truck for more and gave one to each of them too, along with treasures and pens, happy! we took many photos, they pet my hair, and wanted to know about my children, and the usa. i wanted to stay all day asking questions too and learning about these lovely people, but we still had a long way to go.

back in the truck, everyone waving goodbye! goodbye! then one young woman looked closely
at the pocket she was wearing and called 'did you make these?'  'yes! myself and many many friends around the world made them for you!' and then those smiles again. sigh.

finally reaching mowani mountain camp at dusk, where we were greeted with cold wet towels and ice filled drinks

and then kindly hurried through reception and up to the viewing rock, so we wouldn't miss sundowners of this kind...

and this... a stunning view of the setting sun

 our tent

 morning view

 early breakfast view

  pool view

and an outdoor bathroom room with a view!

and because mowani is nestled in boulders and rocks, dassies, or rock hyraxes are everywhere. hee hee, there is always one...

or many, watching you....

we went to twyfelfontein, a world heritage site, to see the rock engravings. our guide was raymond. he is damara and he has five children too, 3 sons and 2 daughters, like me! we talked about the antics of small boys and he asked me questions about the usa while we hiked. how is texas? and what about michael jackson?  i asked him many things too. we both agreed it is the best thing to do when traveling, share and learn from one another.

 here is the famous sabre toothed lion, incredible. and look at that fantastic giraffe!

raymond said chuck was allowed to climb these boulders to get a closer look at the engravings higher up.

at the visitors center we were able to read about the wonders of this area, one of the greatest concentration of african rock art on the continent. and here is where i found the elephant and giraffe, made by local craftspeople.

thank you for letting us visit!

we saw 'organ pipes' next, thought to have been formed 120 million years ago

 and two welwitschia plants, the oldest plant on earth, they can live beyond a thousand years.

 back at camp,
 rockagama are everywhere

we sat at a small watering hole and watched the comings and goings for hours, here is a pair of african red-eyed bulbul having a drink

 two baby rock dassies

red-headed finch

rock or speckled pigeon

ruppell's parrot and african red-eyed bulbul

 and a laughing dove. the temperatures were very high, and the waterhole provided relief to many!

this camp is situated between huge boulders. all the tents are quite isolated. it's a long walk from reception and the dining area to our place, the paths are gravel and lit at night with lanterns. you must watch carefully for snakes, there are many here. in the tent are directions on what to do should you have an unfortunate encounter. we shall make sure that doesn't happen!

mr. and mrs. graham stayed here.   :)

 we opted to go on a game drive to search for the desert adapted elephant

 ruppell's korhaan, or the frogbird (because of the sound it makes)

 hee hee, we see you

 a southern yellowbilled hornbill

 a small village on the way

stewart has found their spoor (tracks) !

look! we saw not only one family, but two! it took over 2 hours of 4x4 driving to get here, but our brilliant guide found the desert adapted elephant.

stewart is telling us how the desert elephant differs from it's cousins. they are smaller, and have larger feet, which makes it easier to walk in the sand, they can go many days without water to drink.

 after i took stewarts photo, he asked for my camera and said i must have a photo with the elephant too   :)

 the baby doesn't know how to use his trunk just yet, so he imitates everything his mother does

 the second family we found, i think there were thirteen members in this one.

 spectacular. what a day.

 driving back feeling so very lucky, and then i saw my first steenbok too! isn't she gorgeous!

 back in time for sundowners

another perfect day in africa

the dining area at mowani

one of the many nighttime visitors here

 it was our last morning and they had a surprise for us, coming to breakfast, we were intercepted by lita, he had a big grin and said 'your breakfast will be elsewhere, please follow me'  :)

 table for two!

the view! oh how we'll miss it. what a fantastic place. after we packed up but before leaving, we took a chance at the water hole again. wishing for photos of a favorite bird. i think my very favorite of all now. the rosy-faced lovebird.

right at ten am, just like we were told they might, the little birds began to show up, first one

 then many. oh JOY!

maybe they were coming to say farewell.  on to northern damaraland and the etendeka plateau. and the himba.


  1. Lori, I am so enjoying these posts. Really, it makes me want to just pack up my belongs and move, such fantastic sights. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  2. These photos are just beyond words.....Oh, the birds are so beautiful!!!
    Love-love-love this post!


  3. lori,

    i am swooning from all of this and this is just one post - almost too much to take in. i can't imagine how it was for you to be there and see all these amazing sites....those petroglyphs just sitting there, unguarded, for anyone to see — and those organ pipe rocks - how i would love to see that in person as well. but the places you stayed are magical, the animals are incredible, but most of all those kids reacting to your gifts - these images are (and your memories must be!!!) so, so priceless.

    as this post is almost too much to savor at once - is it possible that there will be more experiences to tell about and photos to come?

    i await that with great pleasure♡

  4. elephants ♥ oh what a wonderful group picture of the kids with their new pockets!!!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing these amazing pictures Lori, almost like travelling with you... We went to Kenya a few years ago and I wish one day we could go back..

  6. Amazing! You've captured so much it's so great to see. Those elephants! Hope there are more photos to come...? xxx

  7. Oh, so much, too much!
    I can't begin to list everything that I love about this.

    I'll just keep saying thank you, and hoping for many more posts. It's all just so incredible.
    But PS: The hand (yours?) in the sunset photo,,,,wow, such an artistic photo!

  8. WOW Lori, what a good time you have and thanks for sharing...I love the Hornbill shot and those elephants..the sunset is amazing.Have a great day!


  9. Oh Lori your pictures and stories are amazing. I was taken away again in this post.

  10. Lori, Oh those birds! I can see why they are your favorite, they are darling!
    And beautiful. And the elephants and the locals with the pockets, it is all too wonderful. I am really enjoying your travel posts!Thank you!!!xoxo

  11. Thanks for sharing your lovely journey into Africa. I'm really enjoying it.

  12. oh wow! that baby elephant alone was enough to gush over, but there were so many other wonderful creatures that crossed your path (save for the grasshopper looking bug on your bed - i would've died). i love your way of unfolding the story of your trip for us. i actually got teary when you told about the knit pockets - i guess that's what happens when you're a part of something. you feel connected to it. looking forward to the next post mrs. graham!

  13. These are just so beautiful... you words and photos touch me so deeply. You have such a wonderful heart. I hope your travels continue to be blessed :)

  14. Oh my...the elephants...the pockets...the ancient drawings...the birds...the tents...I need to go to Africa...the only (and I mean only) thing about this post that makes me even remotely hesitant is the snakes...and I would just have to be very careful that there were no "encounters".

  15. Comment # 1: Oh my elephants !

  16. My little ones are looking at the pictures with me - amazed at how much the animals look like those in their "dassie boek"! It is so beautiful, you are doing us a great favour!

  17. Oh how lovely. Thank you for showing us your Safari trip. My daughter has dreams of going someday...I will share your posts with her this week. Wonderful to see the faces that received the "Pockets of Sunshine".:)

  18. I could stare at the elephants forever and a day, I bet you will never ever forget this trip. Your tent was so beautiful and cozy and the food---YUM Thanks for sharing and the photo of all the children with their pockets is priceless :)

  19. dear lori and chuck, this is such a great 'series' . thank you for sharing ! i am also sharing with my husband , who was there 12 years ago :)
    you wont' believe how similar Australia 's north and inland is to Africa.
    I suppose they should be, gondwanalanded together for some million years or so.

    LOVE THOSE BUTTONS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. oh oh oh OH !
    and those temps you're talking about ?
    WE SIT right at 45 for about 6 months of the year. the rest of the time, its around 30. no less !

  21. My dear Lori, this is absolutely magical. Thank you so very much for sharing it all. What an incredible experience. The lovebirds, en masse like that, oh my! And the beautiful pockets, made by friends all over the world. I have tears right now. Gorgeous, thank you.

  22. thank you! I have no words to add....
    xxxxx Alessandra

  23. Lori I gasped out loud when i saw the rock paintings; then later the saber tooth tiger, the giraffe. The beautiful people you met and made friends with;
    The rosey lovebirds! That heartbreakingly beautiful speckled piegon and steenbok with antlers on her ears! Then that giant locust; I watched a movie recently about the cave paintings in France. Its so difficult to get in to see them, the most fascinating documentary that I know you and Chuck would love. To be able to see those so closely , what a privledge. Just like this was.....

  24. Oh what a world you've visited! I am so glad you shared the photos with us. Such nature, people and artifacts I'll never be able to see with my own eyes...those rosey birds are stunning, but so are most of these photos. Thank you.

  25. What wonderful memories you have made on your trip, not just for you but all those children and their mamas will remember you and you kindness. Such simple things gave such pleasure to them. You reached out and touched someone elses life - what a wonderful gift that is just in itself. Sharing your visit with us is also a gift and I thank you for that.


  26. Wow, such wonderful pictures, makes me want to visit one day too. Thanks for sharing :)

  27. What a terrific travel guide you are, dear Lori! Like many others, there is just too much to pick a favourite ~ oh, ok, I'll pick those lovebirds. Oh, and the colourful birds are pretty sweet, too! hee hee. I'm thinking of you lots right now...and look forward to more photos!
    xo and a pile of hugs,

  28. More wonderful pictures Lori. What an incredible diversity of animal and birdlife you were able to experience! That steenbok is so beautiful.
    How the kids must love their pockets!!
    Thank you for sharing your trip.

  29. Thank you for all your words and photos and images (in my mind) which you created. My own memories came back... in Zambia I saw hornbills too, and oh, these African sunsets. Haha, I so liked how elegantly you sat at the table after SUCH a day, with your legs folded like a model. Really, to all the locals who accompanied you or got to chatting with you you must have appeared quite outwordly! Your blond hair, your smile, your true interest in them, your gifts for them... I don`t think they ever meet many like you!

  30. Dear Lori, I'm so happy that you have been able to see and experience all that! Everything looks so beautiful but also unbelievable! When thinking that your friend has really been there and took these amazing photos, makes it a little bit more real! xxx Teje

  31. Lori, thank you for taking us along to Africa. I enjoyed the pictures very much.

  32. such beauty. thank you again.

  33. Wow!!! Is it okay if I just keep saying WOW in response to your travel posts? Cuz really, they're leaving me speachless. Oh, and teary in this case too - the pocket giving I mean. So beautiful.

  34. I look forward to your posts Lori; they bring such joy, from the smiles to the wildlife. What beautiful memories you have and give us all a different view of a continent often in the news for violence. You and your husband are peacemakers. Much love, Susan

  35. I am enjoying your African journey. I love the lovebirds photos! Also the elephants. I love how everyone reacts to the beautiful pockets. Also, the snake thing scares me....!

  36. Such an amazing journey & beautiful people you met along the way!
    Your elephant photos are stunning ~ aren't they incredibly gorgeous!

  37. What an incredible journey, Lori. Beautiful sites, people, and animals! Thank you for sharing it with us!

  38. Aaron and me had another wonderful trip with you to Africa today. Oh all that joy you bring to people across the globe. There is truely something magical about you Lori!
    For a moment though Aaron confused Stewart with his Papa but we figured it all out ;-)

  39. Dear Lori, I am enjoying every photo of your post and I just can say how amazing it is! Thank you for sharing these special moments of you in Africa and I am sorry if I didn´t comment lately, it has been quite busy down here...
    But I am always thinking of you, I am, really!
    with much love,

  40. Comment # 2: OMG that last shot!

  41. Wow - what an adventure!! Thank you for sharing!

  42. Another wonderful treat! How I look forward to these! Very exciting and heartwarming and beautiful!

  43. what a pleasant way to start my morning here in Montana. the birdies so lovely...the rock art with whimsy... armchair travel has never been better.

    to think that there is still an untouched corner of a quieter wilderness world kept as is for a few generations forward to appreciate...thank you for sharing so gently.

  44. Dear Lori
    I read this wonderful post the other day and then didn't have a chance to comment so now have come back. I enjoyed this so much, and found so many amazing pictures and stories in it that it is quite breath taking. You have really opened my eyes to some very beautiful places and creatures and I can quite see why you are so drawn to Africa and why it influences your work so profoundly. Your photos are brilliant, beautiful and sensitive. I was especially fascinated to see the rock paintings, and I loved all the people and the sweet rosy faced lovebirds. Thank you for sharing this amazing experience, you write about it so wonderfully too.
    Helen x

  45. thank you for all the truly kind comments, your words add so much. it is a pleasure to share.
    xxx lori

  46. Wow,Lori! I don't even know where to begin. From the "organ pipes" which are spectacular. To the frogbird, the likes of which I've not seen before. What a long neck. And the inside of the ears of that sweet steenbok. If my 13 year old saw the grasshopper, though, he would run from the room screaming. Last summer when we stayed in a hut in Nepal, out in the middle of nowhere, there were lots of bugs and critters and creatures to contend with. When we would walk to the dining area at night, he would literally cover his ears and run as he didn't even want to here the sounds of all the insects. When we rode the elephants in the jungle, he barely saw a thing because he had his eyes covered the whole time. All this coming from a boy who at the age of 2 let a huge cockroach crawl up his arm and thought it was funny. Ha! I love elephants. They are so smart. Such gentle giants. What a fantastic trip! My husband would love it! Thanks for sharing your adventures. Best wishes, Tammy

  47. Thank you, Lori, for these photos - so lovely to see - almost as if we were there (except without the heat) :) Funny, I'm sure so many of us were looking carefully at that photo with the pockets and wondering which one was ours. Were you able to hand out all of them? Not enough of them made?

    The animals and birds are amazing! Those red-eyed Bulbuls - sort of freaky-looking but beautiful. My son (who loves birds) would love seeing all these birds up close someday...

    1. ellen, we did pass them all out, every one. there were more than enough. :) it was so wonderful.

  48. Oh those lovely little parrots!
    And that breakfast for 2! How romantic and perfect :)
    And all the animals you saw! In every post I see lots of new ones. This must have been so exiting!


xoxo lori