We all went our different ways early in the morning and I caught a ride back to the Roadhouse with fellow hikers. It wasn’t yet time for me to leave the south, I still had the Gondwana Canyon Park to explore and the canyon to visit.
The drive to the second largest canyon in the world takes you by surprise, every time. The 10km drive from Hobas is along a stony road surrounded by an expanse of dry land and there is no hint of the earth opening up into a generous smile just a few kilometres away.
This ancient smile, millions of years old, is not even visible from the car park at the main viewpoint. It is only when you alight from your vehicle and walk to the edge (like so many things in Life!), that the geological masterpiece becomes apparent. And, it stops you in your tracks, every time.
The yawning chasm is simply there. When we overcome our awe-inspired shock at seeing something so grand – and that all depends on our capacity for wonder – we try to absorb it. But, the time-span and geological evolution involved is way beyond our human comprehension. In relation to this ancient grandfather, we are new-born babes and we can only look on with admiration.
It is highly recommended to stretch legs - and gain a sense of the spirit and energy of the place - with a walk on the path along the rim from the main viewpoint to Hikers Point. Or take a stroll at Sulphur Springs further south. Be prepared to be dazzled!
What I always find refreshing is the lack of tourist trappings here. Once again, as in so many places in this strange and wonder-full country, Namibia’s jewels are humbly presented. There is also a spellbinding aspect to this tourist (and earthling) attraction: there are no barriers, except for the railing at the main viewpoint. The power, grandeur and magnificence of the canyon are not kept from us in any way. Vertigo, risk and a slightly uneasy feeling of danger merge here on the edge of spectacular greatness. They remind you that this holy place needs to be honoured – and respected, as a few souls who have descended into the canyon, never to be seen again, would testify if they had a chance.
Ron Swilling is a freelance writer, based in Cape Town, writing for Namibian and South African publications. She is a regular contributor to Gondwana’s History and Stamps&Stories columns and documented the intriguing information of the Wild Horses in Namibia for Mannfred Goldbeck and Telané Greyling. She invites you to ‘Follow her footsteps’ on her journey from the Orange River, exploring the Gondwana routes through the intriguing country of Namibia.