Spitzkoppe – September 2021

After saying our goodbyes and MeWeAh to the San group, we headed out towards Spitzkoppe, an epic mountain in Namibia.

We parked under a tree some 6km away from the Spitzkoppe National Park and enjoyed a great braai and campfire with the, by now, traditional glass of wine. We had a beautiful sunset with the silhouette of the mountain range in the background and woke up to said mountains bathed in the soft rose of the early sunrise.

We covered the last few kilometers to the park, paid our entrance fee and started driving around to see the various sites. Unfortunately the fees to hike to various peaks of this small mountain range were pretty steep and we decided to keep with the walks and sites that were included in the park entry fees.

We drove towards the Bushman’s Paradise walk, which is a guided walk along a chain trail, bolted into the steep rock face.

Driving around this area reminded us so much of Uluru and the Olga’s in Australia: massive granite boulders popping up in an otherwise flat and sandy landscape.

We walked up the chain trail to Bushman’s Paradise with Jeffrey, our guide. The views from up there were just amazing and once again, the vastness of the land always stuns us if we see Trokkie just about disappearing in it. Seeing we had visited the Erongo Mountains just a day before, it was quite amazing to see the mountains so far away and fading into the sky.

When we got to the top, the first thing Jeffrey wanted to show was a ‘Soccerball and Fifa’ rock formation (top left). He was obviously a keen soccer fan!

We walked some more over the bare boulders till we arrived at little Bushman’s Paradise: a hollow between the boulder formations where water would collect and provide sustenance to animals, plants and humans alike. Jeffrey was very happy to tell us all about the trees, the plants and the poisons. In one of the caves he showed rock art that the bushman communities used as their ‘twitter’ of ‘facebook’ message boards to tell the groups coming after them which animals they had seen and where they were. It was a pity that the rock art was quite faded and not so easy to distinguish. 

A short while later we arrived at the Bushman’s Paradise, a bigger valley area further in the mountain range.

On our way back, just before we would descend the chain trail again, Jeffrey showed us the ‘animal ablutions’! One would be excused to mistake some of the droppings for coffee and other beans! 

When we were back down, we drove to some old graves and some of the other sightseeing spots in the park and had a coffee break surrounded by the boulder landscape and weird and wonderful plant life.

We admired some of the bush campsites in total solitude and vastness and parked somewhere at the far end of a trail to climb up boulders and rock towards the ‘arch’ or ‘bridge’ rock formation.

We eventually left the park and started our way towards Henties. We had read that the Erongo area is rich in minerals and gemstones and one blog had stated that you see hawkers peddling gemstones along the road side.

The entire stretch between Erongo Mountains and  Spitzkoppe, we hadn’t really seen any of these roadside hawkers and we thought that we must have missed them. But obviously, this gem-rich region stretches out far and wide and when we had entered the Spitzkoppe Park, we had seen the last stretch of road leading to the entrance, lined with stalls selling art and crafts but also stones.

We were now on the road towards Henties and all of a sudden we saw the roadside ‘gem-stalls’ at regular intervals along the road, with the makeshift prospecting camps and molehills further afield. It reminded us so much of Coober Pedy in the Australian Outback, be it on a much smaller scale. Although most stalls work with the ‘honesty-box’ system, they try to have someone on the lookout. If you would stop to just have a look, someone would come running from the desolate dessert just not to miss a sale!

Stefaan chatted with one guy who seemed to be digging for tourmaline and further up the road, we stopped at a road side stall and got to chat to the lady about the stones she had on display. She seemed to know what she was talking about and showed us a variety of different gemstones, raw and unpolished out of the ground. She intimated that life is tough in this barren landscape and eventually we bought a few stones and gave her a few liters of water.

Looking at the landscape around us we could very well believe it: as far as the eye can see there is nothing more than rock and sand, with occasional arteries of dusty green shrubs.

We left her to her job of digging and finding gemstones and continued to Henties Bay. We parked at a pub and grub with views over the beach and sea, had a fish and chips and went to bed.

The following day we did some shopping and drove out of Henties town to find a spot to park: as isolated as possible BUT with internet connection! Can’t really do this blog without internet connection!

We eventually stuck around there for the next three days (catching up on website work etc) and on day two we got a surprise meet up with Gavin and Lee who had also arrived in Henties.

From Henties we left together to check out what the Dead Sea Swimhole, just outside Henties was all about. And that proved quite an interesting adventure.

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We walked up the chain trail to Bushman’s Paradise with Jeffrey, our guide. The views from up there were just amazing and once again, the vastness of the land always stuns us if we see Trokkie just about disappearing in it. Seeing we had visited then Erongo Mountains just a day before, it was quite amazing to see the mountains so far away and fading into the sky.

Jeffrey was very happy to tell us all about the trees, the plants and the poisons. In one of the caves he showed rock art that the bushman communities used as their ‘twitter’ of ‘facebook’ message boards to tell the groups coming after them which animals they had seen and where they were.

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