A big giraffe sleeping all curled up like a dog? Are you kidding me? But look for yourself! If you want to find out if this really was a sleeping giraffe, and to read about our lonesome but fascinating hike to a cave up in the Erongo mountains were we found bushmen’s paintings and and carvings presumed to be more than five thousand years old, continue after the jump….
No, giraffes don’t sleep down on the ground all curled up like a dog. This wouldn’t be advisable, considering the significant time those long legged and long necked graceful animals need to get up to their feet. And given the fact that they are not on the top of the food chain 😉 . This particular giraffe was indeed resting on the ground, but she was just itching some insect bites on her back with her mouth, and that seemingly sleeping position she had just for a split second. Henri Cartier-Bresson might have called that the “decisive moment” 😉
In fact, giraffes typically sleep in standing position, ready to escape in case a predator nears. So more like in the position of that giraffe that bushmen carved presumably around 3400 bc into the walls of Phillips Cave on the grounds of the Ameib Farm in the Erongo Mountains in Namibia.
I find it quite amazing that in Namibia you find giraffes not only in Nature Reserves or National Parks (like in South Africa), but that they actually roam the free and open land. Like the one above we saw many giraffes while driving through the country side.
Coming back to the rock paintings and carvings in the Phillips Cave. The cave is situated up on a little mountain on the grounds of the Ameib farm. The farm allows day visitors, and you can take a sandy road to a parking from where you can do the 90 minute hike through rocky grounds, narrow pathways and finally up a mountain where you find the huge open cave.
The paintings and carvings are presumed to be more than five thousand years old. Famous is the white elephant. Very beautiful is also the depiction of the hunters you can see above.
The main figurine is similar to the more famous “White Lady” painting on the Brandberg mountain near Uis. But because that painting is behind iron bars, can only be accessed accompanied by a guide and in the company of plenty other tourists, visiting the paintings of the Philips cave (which is also a Namibia National Monument) is a serious alternative.
We were there all by ourselves, and had free access to all the paintings. And the hike alone through the lonely landscape was already very beautiful.
Also on the Ameib farm grounds, not far from the cave, is a place called “Bulls Party”, a formation of giant granite boulders laying all over the place. And also here, we were all by ourselves.
We closed out the day with a sunset walk through the bush at Hohenstein Lodge, were we did spend the night. Remember how to get a starburst sun like in the photo above? Use a narrow aperture, like the f/13 I dialed in in this image, together with a 1/125 sec shutter speed and ISO 200.
The photo of the giraffe was just a teaser. From Erongo we continued north towards Etosha National Park, to see the true African wildlife. Stay tuned.
All photos taken with the Olympus PEN-F and the mZuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 Pro Zoom. To capture the giraffe I used the OM-D E-M1 with the 40-150mm F/2.8, and the panoramic shot of Phillips cave was taken with my iPhone. If you are interested in the specs of certain photos let me know in the comments. All files were RAW converted and processed in Lightroom CC.
Have a great Friday!