After two days at the Desert Camp we unfortunately had to check out and leave the area, heading for Swakopmund. We had a few stops along the road for photo opportunities, and we ate lunch at a parking lot in Walvis Bay (30 kilometers south of Swakopmund), where we could spot hundreds of flamingos and pelicans.
The lagoon is the scenic feature of Walvis Bay. It is one of the most important wetlands of southern Africa and is the hibernation area for thousands of migratory birds.
Eating lunch (photo taken by tour leader Dee)
When we arrived Swakopmund we had a stop at the activity center to book some tours for the next day (a free day where we could do whatever we wanted to do). Jon was here 4 years ago, and had an awesome experience with a Living Desert Tour, so we knew what kind of trip we wanted to book. There were no seats available at Tommy’s Living Desert (the company Jon went with the last time) so we booked a tour with another company instead. But that experience deserves its own blog post. Be sure not to miss that one!
The rest of the day was free and we walked around in the town to look for souvenirs and other stuff. We also got the opportunity to do some laundry. Later that evening we ate dinner all together at Kücki’s. They had some really good food, and we all walked back together with our stomachs filled up.
Swakopmund is a city on the coast of western Namibia, situated in the Namib desert and is the fourth largest population centre in Namibia. Swakopmund is a beach town and an example of German colonial architecture.
Two days later, at day number 9, we left the Dunedin Star Guesthouse around 8am, and the goal for the day was to arrive Brandberg White Lady Lodge in Damaraland before sunset.
We had a long day ahead of us with many stops along the way.
A shipwreck at Skeleton Coast
First we drove to the Seal Colony on the Skeleton Coast.
The coastline of Southern Africa is the only place in the world where you can find the Cape fur seal. They fight, mate, reproduce and fish in the Cape Cross Seal Reserve, home to the largest breeding colony of these seals on the planet, with more than 100,000 seals.
Their noise is deafening, their smell overwhelming, but their antics draw you in.
In 1485 Portuguese explorer Diego Cão, the first European to set foot in Namibia, planted a 2m-high, 360kg padrão at Cape Cross.In 1893, however, a German sailor Captain Becker of the Falke removed the cross and hauled it off to Germany. The following year, Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered that a replica be made with the original inscriptions in Latin and Portuguese, as well as a commemorative inscription in German. This cross remains at the site, in addition to a second cross, made of dolerite, which was erected in 1980 on the site of Cão’s original cross. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/namibia/cape-cross-seal-reserve
We met some ladies from the Himba tribe on the road
We then went to Brandberg Mountain with its 2 573 meters above sea level makes it Namibia’s highest point.
The guide of the day; Rion, a happy always-smiling bushman, took us with him on a 1 hour long hike to see some rock art painting dating back at least 2000 years ago. When we got there we had to leave bags and bottles before we walked up the last stairs to see the paintings – it’s to protect the paintings as there has been some damages because people poured water on the paintings to make the colors more clearly visible before it become a protected heritage site of Namibia. The “White Lady Group” is found in a cave known as “Maack Shelter” and portrays several human figures as well as oryxes. The “White Lady” is the most detailed human figure in the group.
As it can get really hot in the area you shouldn’t take the hike without bringing at least a liter of water.
After the hike we had a short drive before we arrived the lodge. We had a couple hours to spare before sunset, so we went straight to the pool to cool down, and then we sat down to watch the sunset. For dinner that day we ate Bobotjie, the national dish of South Africa, consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping. On the side we had banana-salad and rice.
I must admit I was skeptical of the banana salad, it didn’t sound good at all, but actually it wasn’t that bad with coconut on the top.
It started to get windy so we went all back to our rooms to get some sleep. We had a long drive ahead of us the next day so it was best to get some sleep.