Messum Crater

Trip Start Apr 24, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Namibia  , Erongo,
Saturday, June 23, 2012

Messum crater held a bit more promise than St Nowhere.  Dumb Doll sent us off on an "off road" in search of the crater.  Were we in for a surprise! Driving in the dry riverbed the first exciting thing was to see a Welwitschia plant right next to the “off road spoor”.  Not one either, three in close proximity of one another.  Yipeeeee!! Lots of photos taken.  This is a rare and very old plant.  I last saw one when I was a child living in Namibia with my folks.  I went on and on about just how rare and special there Welwitschias are …………..just about then, we started seeing them everywhere.  And I mean – Everywhere!  Hundreds of them.  All sizes.  Carlos looked at me and said “rare and special” eh? 

Now who do I get him to believe me, we were in a Welwitschia “forest”  that continued for miles.  Stranger still, there is no mention of this as a special attraction.  All it indicates is that there is “a giant Welwitschia”.  One, not thousands.  I went bonkers taking pics.  Much to Carlos' frustration.  To top it off they were in flower.  The male plants had small narrow flowers and the female flowers had cone like “fat” flowers.  I have never seen one in flower.  I picked some seeds up and will try to make it grow when I get home.  I  will probably not be around long enough to see it get to any substantial size as it grows very slowly and can reach the age of 2000 years. 

The Welwitschia has a root much like an elephant foot.  Apparently it does not rely as much on its root to get it water as it does on its two leafs. The leafs absorb moisture from the atmosphere to survive.  I was itching to give them all water!

Besides the Welwitschias, we saw Gemsbok and Springbok.  One can hardly believe that they would remain in the area as there is nothing (that we could see) that they could eat.  The other was the unusual shapes carved out by the river’s flow.  It looks like faces, or creatures protruding out of the riverbed “wall”.  One of the “creatures” had a desert melon in its mouth (obviously placed there by some tourist). 

The further we ventured the more beautiful it got.  We could only wonder what Messum crater was going to be like if the way to it was so amazing.  We were, once again, the only people around.  This place is vast and the colours, natural and atmospheric, makes it a wonderland. One sign we encountered that was spot on was (see pic) “MOER TOE” (hell-en-gone) with arrows pointing in both directions.

There are a few camp sites without any facilities.  It looked as if the wind could blow one right off the planet here as there was nothing to shield you from it.  An historical spot, where one is strictly forbidden to camp, looked like the only possibility to consider for camping.

Going around the “hill” we climbed a bit and there it was………………The Messum Crater in its full splendor!  I can only hope that the photo’s bring something of this place home.  We stood there for quite a while just taking in what laid in front of us.  That, and the deafening silence that surrounded us.  “Were we alone on “this planet”?

Much too soon we had to “snap out of it” to get going again.  It was still a long way to Brandberg and the White Lady.  Our average speed is about 20-25 km per hour. 

A while later we hit what is, probably THE worst road in Namibia.  This is surprising as it is a  “D” road, not even a “off road”.  Namibia’s roads are identified by letters.  An “A” road would be a tar road, a good standard road would be a “C” or “D” road.  Scraped regularly and in such good condition that most locals travel at speeds around 120 kph on it.  This one has clearly not been scraped for a long time.  It goes through a nature conservancy with no fences.  I was pulling my hair out!  Everything that could rattle RATTLED!  The worst corrugation we have seen yet.  I think it even gives Kgalagadi a go!  I plugged my ears at some stage just not to hear it any more.

What I have not told you is that Carlos have had something on his “to see wish list” for a long while.  At the height of the corrugation madness, I saw two cheetah’s walking in the same direction.  Great excitement!! A shuffle to get the long lens on to the camera to take a shot at these beauties before they disappear.  A pair, in no hurry to run off.  They sat down and stared at us as much as we were staring at them.  Although a bit far, we could see them clearly and with the binocs it was as if they were a hundred meter away.  So pleased with the sighting we clear forgot about the terrible road. We could not afford to spend more time with the cheetah’s as it was close to sun down and we still had a way to go to Brandberg and the While Lady Camp Site.

As luck would have it…..the road got better just about here and we could enjoy the rest of the journey.

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