Once we decided that the "strawberry farm" would be our base camp for a few days, we set out to explore the area.
D7 (12 June 2013, Lubango surrounds)On the first day, Mrad discovered some delicious strawberries in a nearby field.
Added to some wild Afrikaner flowers, it made me feel very special.
We set off to look at the Dorsland Trekker cemetery on the farm. This "Cultural Heritage" sign (erected in 2000) next to the cemetery made us realize that everybody's history in Angola was precious to the government.
Once again, the atmosphere in the cemetery affected us deeply. Most of the inscriptions laid bare the pain which the survivors had to bear.
Born nearly a 100 years ago, died at the age of 12 ... and still the grave is well-preserved!
Nearby in the fields, the owner and his labourers were planting new strawberry plants. His grandfather bought their farm from Van der Merwe, a departing Dorsland Trekker, in 1928 - "I can show you the deed of sale ...". The farm had cost 400 pounds! Since 2002 when Angola's new democracy was born, the family could only retain +-10% of their original property due to new land laws. We were the 5th group to visit his farm in 2013.
Is the water safe to drink? He advised us to cross the road and buy water from his water purification plant. They also sold milk and delicious drinking joghurt. We all stocked up for the next week.
As you can see on the map at the beginning of this post, we then turned south towards the Dorsland Trekker Memorial in Humpata. It had been erected originally in 1957 and subsequently another plaque had been added in 2003.
The graves next to the plaque were in a state of disrepair - perhaps because they were so close to the town? We left feeling rather unsettled.
We drove north again. Past the strawberry farm and on to Lubango which lies below the escarpment. Just look at the magnificent view this drive gave us of the city.
This sculpture welcomed us to the city. A soccer ball? Perhaps this was in sympathy with the World Cup Soccer events in South Africa in 2010? And I imagined that the figure was pointing us in the direction of Tundevala.
A visit to Tundevala is a must. This majestic view point is similar to views over the Rift Valley in East Africa, but it is a volcanic fissure (1200m deep) on the rim of the great escarpment called Serra da Leba. From it one has spectacular views over the west side of Angola towards the Atlantic Ocean. It is located some 18 km NE from the city of Lubango, in Huila province. The site is well-maintained with a beautiful cobbled driveway leading to the parking lot which allows visitors to walk to the viewpoints.
This is a side view of one of the viewpoints - one feels rather like a bird hovering in the air when one peers over the side.
The view down the fissure into the valley far below is breathtaking. A photo can never do the view justice.
From another viewing box, one can look along the escarpment into the eternity of the valley's walls. Looking north.
We drove along one of the side roads which offered the possibility of looking down into the valley from another angle. Teatime will never be the same once you've had it on the edge of such a breathtaking view.
On the way back to Lubango, this wreck reminded us not to take our safety for granted!
D8: (13 June 2013, Lubango)
The next day we drove back to town. We passed some of Angola's Chinese imports - very handy vehicles!
Why would we retrace our steps to Lubango? To visit the world renowned Cristo Rei statue which proudly stands on a hill between the city and Serra Chela. The Cristo Rei statue is visible from every direction as it rises far above the escarpment to the south of the city. This 30 m large, white marble statue of Jesus is one of a set of three similar statues built between 1945-1950. The most famous one in the world is the one found in Rio de Janeiro. (see http://angolarising.blogspot.com/2010/01/angolas-statues-and-memorials.html). However, in 2010 a similar statue was built in Poland, so now there a four such statues (http://www.angolamarket.com./index.php?page=view/article/114/Christ-the-King---Lubango)
If you look closely, you will see that the face of the statue is pockmarked (as is the right hand). This is due to soldiers using it for target practice during the civil war (1975-2002). How stupid can one get??
The caretaker of the statue allowed us to enter and climb to the viewing platform which overlooks the city.
The view was worth every huff and puff it took us to get to the top.
To end the day, we descended into the city again in order to stock up on provisions - just look how well-stocked this store is. It was a pleasure to shop here and everything we needed was available.