Our drive to Spitzkoppe took us north from Walvis Bay, through Swakopmund (with a stop at a bakery/deli to pick up our lunch) and up the Skeleton coast to Henties Bay and then inland (east) to Spitzkoppe.
Although not as windy as the previous few days, it was still pretty breezy. And oddly enough, the wind was blowing the sand back to the ocean!
We stopped roadside, at the colourful little holiday town of Wlozkasbaken, to stretch our legs and take a few photos. It was winter in Namibia, so it was very quiet and pretty barren.
The Skeleton Coast is a thousand mile long stretch that runs from the Angola border south to the Swakop River. It is an area known for high winds, unpredictable currents, heavy fog, rough seas, underwater rocks and sandbars and, as a result, hundreds of shipwrecks over the centuries. You would think this area gets its name from the large number of shipwrecks, but that is not the case. The name comes from the large number of skeletons from the whales that were stranded and died here. The Ovahimba, a tribe from northern Namibia/Southern Angola used these bones for building their huts.
We visited the Zeila Shipwreck, one of the most recent. She was an offshore fishing vessel that, while being towed to India for scrap in 2008, slipped her tow rope and ran aground. Very popular with the local cormorants and tourists, the crashing waves around the wreck make for some interesting photographic opportunities.
After a brief stop in Hentiesbaai (Henties Bay) for coffee, a bathroom break and to eat our lunch we said goobye to the South Atlantic one last time and headed inland.
About 140 million years ago, the ancient continent of Gondwanaland (which consisted of South America, Africa, Australia, India and Antarctica) was breaking up into the continents we know today. At the time, many areas experienced volcanic activity. The magma went into the surrounding rocks, cooled and formed granite. As the volcanic mountains eroded away, the granite mountains rose to the surface.
From this process came the Spitzkoppe. These granite mountains rise 1,728 metres (the Groot Spitzkoppe) & 1,584 (Klein Spitzkoppe) above the ground. (“groot” is Afrikaans for large; “Klein” is Afrikaans for small). They truly are a sight to behold rising up high above this very flat land.
As the light of day began to fade, we climbed up to the arch for twilight.
After a delicious dinner (one of the best we had) cooked by the camp staff (and a lesson on the geological history of the area), we headed out again to photograph the night sky and the spectacular milky way.
The next morning after a delicious bush breakfast, we climbed the rock behind our camp for magnificent views of the “Matterhorn of Namibia”, the pointy crest of the Groot Sptizkoppe . As the sun rose it bathed the mountain in beautiful warm light. It was spectacular – one of my favourite photographic moments of the trip!
A few “close-ups” of this magnificent granite mountain
We said goodbye to Spitzkoppe and were off on the long drive to Etosha National Park – our last destination of the trip and a total change of pace…