We spent a day in the coastal resort of Swakopmund, where we restocked and got a permit for the Dorob Nature Reserve. Swakopmund is a quaint little town that has somewhat of a colonial Germany flavour (Namibia was a German colony prior to 1914), especially in terms of the architecture and to some extent the food; it is becoming an economic hub with the nearby mines and tourism blossoming. We stayed at the Alte Brücke (German: Old Bridge) camp site for two nights and were fortunate in having two fog-free nights. This is unusual as the town is usually fogged up by the time that the sun sets; this is known locally as “Ostwindstimmung” (referring to the easterly winds that bring hot, bergwind conditions from the interior). We took a quick walk to the Swakop river, where we watched the sun set behind some flamingoes, while overhead tourist-laden Cessna planes rushed towards the airport before nightfall. Back at the caravan we had a braai (bbq), watched the stars and had a decent night’s sleep.
The Dorob National Park runs allong the coast from just south of Walvis Bay to the Skeleton Coast Park and inland approximately the distance of the fog belt. We headed north past Henties Bay towards Cape Cross Lodge, our next camp site. The Namib desert is a flat, essentially featureless expanse next to the salt road, while towards the coastal side popular fishing spots for surf angling have curious names, such as Mile 8, Predikantsgat or Bakleigat. This coast is well known for its kabeljou and steenbras, with many Namibians and South Africans enjoying their holidays here. We make short detour for a coffee break on the beach and later to look at a stranded trawler. By midday it is getting a bit hot and we observe our first “mirage”, in the distance is the Brandberg (burning mountain). Along the beach we see gulls and cormorants, but little other evidence of animals, except for jackal and hyena tracks. There are some salt mines, where seawater is evaporated in pans and the salt collected; along the road are small stands with salt crystals for sale.
We set up camp at Cape Cross lodge, which is next to the Cape Cross seal colony. There are many dead seal pups on the beach, the mortality rate is apparently quite high, that are providing a meal for a lone jackal and seagulls. In the distance I can also see one flamingo, another beautiful sunset.
We used Cape Cross as a base camp for doing three separate 4×4 trails in the Dorob reserve, the first of which was the Minerals trail that included disused rose quartz and tin mines as well as the “dead sea”, the latter containing a higher salinity level than the more well-known dead sea in the middle. Other than that, it was a long, hot trip.
The next day we undertook the Messum crater trail, which starts with the lichen fields.
8 4 2016