If you’re a rock hopper, star gazer or even a serious climber and you’re travelling the road between Usakos and Swakopmund you’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t stop for a few days at Spitzkoppe campsite in the Namib Desert.
The campsites are set far apart among the boulders, each with its own dry loo but the only showers and flush toilets are near reception. After a long day of heat and dust, I enjoyed my shower with a gecko and then watched as the stars came out to play, shimmering brightly in the dry winter air. The Southern Cross, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, we could spot them all, although our binos didn’t really cut it as telescopes for detail.
We realised we’d made a mistake – we should have booked at least two nights so we’d have had more time to explore.
Apart from camping, star-gazing and enjoying a drink at the bar/restaurant, this is really a place to explore on foot.
1. If terms like open book rail right and mantelshelf, bolted stance, quickdraws and endurance face climbing make you feel a thrill of excitement, you’ll want to climb the Gross Spitzkoppe, also known as the Matterhorn of Namibia. The western face was first climbed in 1946 and is still popular. Here the climbs have evocative names like ‘Active Side of Infinity’, ‘Beyond Suntan Lotion’ and ‘Nothing in Moderation’ but if you want to know more, you’ll have to speak to the campsite manager or one of the (compulsory) guides because this is definitely not my area of expertise.
3. If you’re interested in rock art talk to your guide about a hike that will take you to see some of nearly 40 known sites in the area. Some are up to 4000 years old. Again, you may not visit rock art sites without a guide.
4. If you love birding, look out for species like martial eagle, African hawk-eagle, Ludwig’s bustard, Burchell’s courser, Herero chat, Namaqua sandgrouse and yellow-bellied eremomela.
5. Whatever you do, try not to miss the sunrise and sunset, when the rocks and boulders are at their radiant best.
1. If you’re not equipped for camping, you can stay in a rustic thatched room. They’re simple but adequate.
GPS co-ordinates S21.83977 E15.20162.
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