|117'000 years ago a woman
strolled down from the coastal dunes towards the edge of the great
inland lagoon known today as Langebaan.
She was about 5'6" and walked upright. She crossed the trail of some wild antelope and walked on along the waters edge… probably on her way back from a day of gathering sea foods along the wild uninhabited coastline. Her footsteps and those of the small antelope were solidified in the silt one finds at the edge of the lagoon and then gently covered by fine sea sand blown in from the sea. There they were hidden until discovered recently.
The azure waters still beckon one to this day and you can see the layers of petrified sand dune as they have fragmented and broken away in shelves, spread along the waters edge of the Langebaan lagoon.
Away in the distance - as much as 10 kilometers from the present day shore line of the Atlantic, are rows and rows of enormous sand dunes, a relic of the Jurassic period, with fossils in abundance telling a timeless story of life.
But if this is the stage, then the wild cold sea of the Atlantic is the show. A mystical, often violent show, filled with a sense of timelessness where huge white sandy beaches collide with a rocky coastline that to the unknowing eye bears much resemblance to a barren scrubland.
In the mid 1800's, Cornwallis-Harris took a few moments of time to stop and absorb this magic and look at this "barren scrub land". Within months he had documented over 1'600 species of "Fynbos" - the collective name given to this bush. (There are well over 3'500 plant species along this coastline representing an overabundance of plant species known to man.)
It's against this backdrop that Hayward's were appointed by BMW to take care of their VIP guests for an overnight stay in this unique camp. A perfect venue sandwiched between the fynbos, the sparkling waters of Langebaan lagoon and the deep mystical waters of the Atlantic seaboard. As I reflect on our fortune in being in this place, an ostrich and his entourage drift by the front end of the camp, whilst way out over the lagoon great flocks of flamingoes shine pink against the turquoise waters of the lagoon. Overhead a snake eagle patiently hovers as he scouts our camp ground below.
From the air this camp is totally different to the Skeerpoort site (Cradle of Humankind) as with its starkness and harshness of climate, we have opted for a camp built not unlike we would when in the Namib desert. A huge double circular construction with leveled walkways slicing the circle into 4 segments maximizes our cover from wind and dust and at the same time, lit up with over 60 lanterns, 75 flaming torches and glowing walkways - it's a site that will make your eyes water!
Right now (15h00) the artists have arrived for tonight's "Ama Opera" (conceived and produced by O'mage - a leading launch company and the project co-ordinators of this BMW launch). They're finalizing the act and completing their rehearsals. The lighting technicians are adjusting their focusing and Sound is testing the speakers. Deborah, our saxophonist is strutting around organizing her cabling.
The silver is gleaming, the crystal sparkling, the copper glowing. On the far side of the camp the butlers carry guests' luggage to their tents. The lull is over and that welcome safari adrenalin is rising.
In less then 3 hours the biggest safari in the history of Africa continues…