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I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa

Philips Caves


Philip Caves

Philip's Cave is a cave shelter or abri in insoluble granite rocks, formed by erosion. It is famous for its Bushman paintings which include hunting scenes, antelopes, and a White Elephant. The cave is located on the Ameib Game Ranch, in the Erongo Mountains.

Nearby is a group of strangely formed rocks and boulders which is called the Bull's Party. This is well worth a visit.

The walk to Phillips Cave starts off along a flat path that is flanked by lots of trees, most of which have been numbered. You will be given an information sheet about all the numbered trees, so spend some time identifying them as you walk past. One of the most common in the area is the Shepherd Bush, a strange tree with stemless leaves growing directly on the branches.

Also plentiful and literally growing out of the rocks, are the varieties of Commiphora (also known as “kanniedood”) – vaguely similar to the botterboom with their papery bark, they are bulbous in shape and seem stunted in their growth. Sometimes their bark is a bright copper colour, making them rather beautiful. Because of their short stocky shape, they look like miniature bonsai arrangements on the rocks and you will never cease to be fascinated by these quaint little trees that seem to grow with no nourishment whatsoever.

Phillips Cave is found after a very steep climb up a rocky incline. Set in the side of a huge rock face, the cave is more of a gaping opening in the mountain really and looks like a large open mouth.

The back wall is covered in bushman paintings, some very faint, others more distinct. The paintings are typically of animals, and included antelope, zebra, ostrich and a big white elephant. There are also some humans depicted, probably performing a spiritual ritual. On the floor of the cave are a number of stone implements used by the Bushmen.

It is interesting to see the composition of the rock at the entrance to the cave and also on the way up there. It is very soft and breaks off in huge chunks. This process is known as exfoliation and that’s an apt description because that’s exactly what it looks like the rocks are doing. In fact the pieces of rock fall off like an onion peeling layer by layer.

You can site and watch magnificent lizards, with bright orange head and blue scaly body. Its proper name is the Namibian Rock Agama and these colourful little fellows are found wherever there are rocks. One can also always be sure of seeing dassies wherever it’s rocky and the Phillips Cave area is home to dozens of these little creatures.

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