The Ancient Mine Of Ngwenya / Eswatini

After paying a small entrance fee, the guard at the gate jumped in my car and joined me up to the mine. We got to a halt in front of a huge dip. That’s all? That’s the mine? I asked myself a bit disappointed. From the oldest mine on earth I was expecting something more exciting. 

I was doubting about the age of this mine, till I looked up on Wikipedia about Ngwenya Mine. As my guide told me, the scientist dating back the first use of the hematite, or iron ore, for more than 40,000 years. It was used in the stone age for coloring the skin, probably as protecting from the sun.

But first we stepped into the remains of the former museum, which burned down by wildfire a couple years ago. Just in front of the ruins lies the deep hole from the old commercial mine. There are two more dips, the guide explains me. We drove further and parked at another mine dip, filled with water. 

From here we got on our feet and walked up to the highest point, the top of Mount Ngwenya. The last steps are on a steep latter. Stairways to heaven, slipped in my mind and followed me for awhile. From the top, a green wide valley opened up in front of my eyes. The sun rays plays with the clouds, draws pattern in the green landscape. The clouds sprays rain over it, as if it’s in a playful competition with the sun.

Eventually we got to the cave I mentioned earlier. Reddish rocks and ground all around here. Easy to imagine how the early homo sapiens was impressed of that colorful stone. My guide picked up some hematite and rubbed it on the back of my hand to demonstrate how the skin got colored. With the reddish stain on my hand we left the place, still imagining how 40000 years ago people was wandering these beautiful hills.

Kigali Genocide Memorial

At entrance gate every passenger has to get off the vehicles for security check. After the car is parked a friendly staff at reception welcomed me with a smile and explained me there is a photography fee of 20 US$ inside the museum building, but outside it’s free to take pictures. Due the low light in the exhibition rooms i decided to focus on the stories, and taking only few shots from outside.

Just behind the welcome hall a room with rows of chairs is prepared to show an introductory movie. A brief overview of the history and some heartbreaking stories of survivors of genocide brings the viewer goosebumps.

In the museum a path leads from display to another, shows photos and and explanations on big boards or short movies on screens. Another room displayed stained clothes, broken skulls and piles of bones from victims of this horrible time.

The head full of thoughts and impressions i took a short walk trough the area. There are mass graves on terraces just beneath the museum. Some dried roses laying on the concrete  lid of the graves and names of victims are carved in the stoney board next to it.

In the small, but pretty rose garden a few blossoms are left. And almost as sign for the future, the sun breaks finally trough the clouds and shines on the red flowers.

Solitaire in Namib Desert

A little spot, just south of the Tropic Of Capricorn sign, on the vast Namib desert marked as fuel station on the maps, but it’s far more than that. Not only fuel, snacks, cool beverages and cold beers are served here. It’s also the place for the most famous apple tart in Namibia. The German baker, who introduced that delicious dessert midst in the desert, passed away a few years ago. His apple tart stays for many more generations, hopefully.

The big eye-catcher are the old-timers and trucks standing around the fuel station. In colorful rusty conditions they attract people for a stroll between them and take a few shots for remembering.