2012 Crystals page:  Crystal photos from
my February 2012 trip to Namibia to buy crystals
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Here we continue the African Mineral Safari crystal buying trip at the Usakos Crystal Market.   This used
to be a wretched affair with scrap and salvaged materials used to make makeshift shelters that the wifes
of the crystals diggers sold their wares from. One of the big mines (either the uranium or fluorite mines- I
forget) provided the money to build a super nice shelter for the ladies to sell their crystals from.  Note
that the lady in the lower left has red earth applied to her face.  It has antibiotic properties. The Usakos
crystal market is situated very close to the Erongo Mountains (shown immediately below).  You can see
both the Erongo and Klein Spitzkoppie from the market, with Erongo being much closer.
Next we are off to Klein Spitzkoppie.  This is just West of the
Erongo Mountain and crystal dealers have makeshift stands along
the dirt road as well as at the National park there.
Klein Spitzkoppie has topaz crystals and amazonite as well as
some schorl tourmaline and smoky quartz crystals.
The cactus at left has been dressed
up by the gem dealer with a few
crystals.   The hut below had SEVEN
people hiding from the sun when I
pulled up!  Note the voodoo doll that
guards the oft-unattended roadside
We went off-road in the nice Nissan 4x4 that I had rented. We came upon a
cactus in bloom that had some mean looking wasps swarming around it.
Next we head toward Uis, the town nearest the Brandberg Amethyst locality.  Along the roads were more crystal
stands (pictured above right), including one with rose quartz and purplish rose quartz that is found nearby.   In Uis we
met two Himba women. They normally are topless.  What is odd is that one of them has cellphones!  I think she is
carrying one for the girl with the water jug on her head. Note the ankle bracelets. The Himba never, ever, bathe!  As
in, like, never ever.  They coat themselves with a red earth that has antibiotic properties.  I have stood a normal
distance from them and they do not have  body odor.    We stopped on the road and captured a lizard for
photography, wearing gloves for safety.    We encountered another gem dealer at his roadside stand.  Even though it
was around 90 degrees the fellow had a long shirt, a vest, long dress pants, dress shoes, and a ring.
After getting a room in  Uis and resting up, we go on the 2 hour 4x4 road to the Brandberg collecting area.   The actual Brandberg mountain is a
national monument and no collecting is allowed. Brandberg is granite and from time to time you do see specimens from there and these can be
identified by the Feldspar matrix.  The actual Brandberg collecting area is right beside Brandberg proper and it is a basalt.  The locality is literally right
beside brandberg and a lot of the pictures of the mines there have Brandberg in the background and it is so close that it looms overhead.   The basalt
mountains are the xoxobobos (gobogobos or goboboseb) mountains.  The letter "X" is pronounced "G" in Afrikaans.   It is one of the driest places on
earth and the ONLY place that the welwitschia plant grows.  The mature plants are about two thousand years old!
I'm friends with one of the guys that has a mine there at Brandberg.  I
was able to go in and dig in the mine right after a blast and we got
several crystals on matrix.  We also bought a good many great crystals!
Everything in this section Don
Brockway and I dug in the mine:
The  amethyst crystals immediately above this line we dug ourselves.  Everything below this line are crystals that we bought at the various mines at Brandberg.
Next we went to the "Black Camp".   
This is where the black miners work for
themselves and have their own mines.
This is near Tafelkop aka table top
The best drink that I have found in
Namibia is 'WUMA' Nam Flava!
The Brandberg Restcamp in Uis has
an olympic size pool and is the old
office for the tin mine.  The was the
place where the mine management
came for meetings and R&R.
Some of the best coffee I have had anywhere and
certainly the best airport coffee ever!  Why come the
other places can't get it right?   This was at the
Windhoek Airport.
Crystals packed and wrapped and ready for the long trip home.
Some Aquamarine crystals that I forgot
to put in the Erongo section.
I'll be adding 2013 and 2014 trips soon!
Meanwhile, don't miss the first pages
that I put up in the past;
Above is one of the newer camps deep
in the basalt flow and close to the
Messum Crater.  This picture was
taken when the camp was first pitched.
In subsequent visits the camp doesn't
look this fresh and organized.