Moon Landscapes and Weird Welwichias

Trip Start May 20, 2010
Trip End Sep 05, 2011

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Desert Sky Backpackers

Flag of Namibia  ,
Thursday, August 11, 2011


Day : 442
Temperature : 16-18 degrees
Weather : Fog rolling in from the sea

From Sesreim we drove the long, dusty and extremely bumpy drive to Walvis Bay. By the time we arrived the car was covered both inside and out in a layer of thick dust. We stopped in a campsite in town and in the evening took a sunset drive out along the town's salt works in the hope of finding some of the "thousands of flamingos" which according to the LP inhabit the shallow lagoons. Unfortunately there wasn’t a single flamingo in sight, however we did see hundred of cormorants coming in to roost.

The following day we woke up to everything around us outside soaking wet and dripping with water. The fog had rolled in from the sea overnight and everything was drenched. On the 30km drive to Swakopmund we saw very little thanks to the “pea soup” that was engulfing us.

Swakompund is Namibia’s coastal resort town. It has a definite German feel to it thanks to it’s distinctive architecture. It’s a bit of an odd town, but that could be thanks ever present fog which hung in the air all day and all night. It’s hard to imagine that people would ever venture into the sea here, since the water never reaches above 15 degrees thanks to the cold Benguerra current which brings water directly from Antarctica. Perhaps it is this dramatic temperature difference between the cold water and the hot desert which causes the bleak weather up this coast…we must look into this, as it reminds us a great deal of the dreary weather in southern Peru where the desert meets the cold sea. However, Swakopmund served as a useful stop off point for us to stock up on fuel, food and do some laundry.

 We also met up with Regine and Bernhard, a German couple that we saw in Sesriem, and they happened to be staying at the same hostel as us in Swakopmund. After a couple of evenings chatting over dinner and wine in Swakopmund we all decided that we would head north and drive up the Skeleton Coast together.

Since there wasn’t much to see in Swakopmund itself, Kev and I took a scenic drive out to the Welwichia fields and the surrounding Moon Landscape, which very much reminded us of San Pedro in Chile.  The Welwichia plants are extraordinary plants which can live over a thousand years and have unusual surface roots which glean moisture from the fog which rolls in from the sea every night, and have been featured in some of the BBC documentaries. Very strange looking things indeed. We also stopped in a dry river bed where I did my best at identifying some animal tracks and animal poop.....never found the darn animals though! Dom the my dreams!
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