(6/9/13 ) We spent most the day getting ready to head into the bush again.
Tap water to date has been quite varied in taste, but not too smelly or slippery like some bore waters we get in outback Australia. Swakopmund’s town water is salty therefore we filled our tanks at, RO3 Water, a South African franchise business which processes town water through 6 treatments: sand, carbon, 5 to 1 micron filtering, Reverse Osmosis to remove the salt, UV and Ozone to kill microbes, producing great drinking water, luxurious! They also discourage continuous container disposal.
Refueled, restocked and laundry up-to-date, we exited Swakopmund by the Salt Road, to head up the cold, foggy Skeleton Coast.
Ships have been coming to grief since the 1400s, and the desolate desert coast would have been a dreaded place to be stranded.
We did take a photo of a shipwreck which came aground only 5 years ago, (nobody died), but all you can see in the photo is fog.
There are many turnoffs to fishing spots. The fishing must be very good judging by the number of cars loaded up with big rods.
Salt mining still occurs. People sell Salt lumps along the side of the road ~$3 to $12 (AUD) per lump
The Seal colony was a noisy, smelly place. There was plenty of complaining with a lot of clambering over and sleeping on top of each other.
It was interesting watching what they do. Bulls were confirming their borders with the neighbouring bull. A large group of young seals (kindergarten age) had been out in the sea together. They returned and each had to find their mummy by clambering around, and calling out. As they moved around the bulls were either checking them or warning them to keep away.
We turned inland onto a corrugated track and left the cold Atlantic air and fog behind. Driving just 10 minutes inland, the fog disappears and transforms into a warm and clear day; 30 mins later we have to turn the air con on.
Lichen proliferates in the fog. The ancient Welwitschia Mirbilis plant grows in the desert river beds.
I am lucky to have a good tour planner, this day he announces we will be having our lunch stop in a crater.
We had to drive through Mars to get there
When trip-planning Frankie also used Google Earth to select our various lunch or camping spots.
Our lunch spot had sensational views.
Back roads and small tracks are our preferred option, it is usually harder going for the car but on the plus side you might not see anyone else for days. We continued our scenic drive and onto one of Frankie’s possible camp locations. There were Aardvark burrows everywhere including right on the track. Constant concentration was required, dodging holes otherwise we’d loose a wheel.
Our camp site was in a great location and the combination of many things made me finally feel at home (ie similar to our travels in Australia). ie bush camping with no-one around, the temperature finally warm enough for me to sit around relaxed with a nice cold beverage, gazing at the amazing Rocky Mountains surrounding us, a nice hot shower in the sun.
However in Oz, we do not have to worry about possible encounters with lion, leopards or hyenas (only crocs) so we made sure we retired to the tent early.
We should start seeing other wildlife now (other than deer) so next day it was my job to animal spot as Frankie was busy concentrating on the track, corrugations, aardvark holes and other obstacles. But for hours I could not stop gazing at the amazing mountain range of rock.
Pretty awesome mountains, and so many thoughts and wonders went through my head as to how they formed and how many millions of years I could see in all the layers and weathering.
That evening we were looking for a spot to camp, following the bends up a dry river bed/canyon. Again, I was just gazing at all the amazing rocky cliffs on both sides. Another turn and then Frankie yells …… GIRAFFE!!!
…3 of them!! and zebra too. It was the first time we had seen giraffe so it was a bit of a surprise…. They were surprised too and ‘hid’ behind the trees:
We set up camp nearby and again got up into the tent soon after sunset.
Frankie could hear zebra snorting all night, and in the morning we missed a wonderful “bedshot” of a Zebra who was staring straight at us from the top of a hill with the bright pink sun rising right next it. Oh well, it was an amazing site, so now we have to take the camera to bed with us.
There are many rock art sites and we went to the Brandberg White Lady and Twyfelfontein carvings
Namibiam architeture is pretty stylish. The eco-designed building at Twyfelfontein was made from recycled materials and looked very cool. 44gal drums were used to make the rippled roof and the drum lids were used in the walls. It was a very hot day and no energy was required to keep it amazingly cool inside.
Camp grounds in many of the Namibian lodges are also very stylish using nice wood, stone and/or reed features, making it feel more like “glamping”. Outdoor loos and showers with views are not uncommon.
Our journey continued north towards Kaokoland.