Taking the long way round to Twyfelfontein

We needed to travel a lot today, and as we didn’t quite get to do what we intended to do yesterday, that even became more. 😉

On the menu today was the trip from foggy and cold Swakopmund to the remote, dry and warm Twyfelfontein, clocking in at about 280km. As we wanted to start our day back in Walvisbaai to go see the resident Flamingos, we had to add about 60km to that. To make matters worse, we also couldn’t resist adding a huge colony of Cape Fur Seals to the trip, adding another 100km to our route, which is now totalling 440km. Of which a large part indeed is on untarred roads.

The road along the coast (Walvisbaai <-> Swakopmund <-> Cape Cross) is tarred but referred to as salt road, as it is really close to the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. The wind blows predominantly from the sea to the land, bringing with it a lot of moisture and salt, as the current is flowing from the South Pole to the Equator, and still is really cold when it gets to Namibia. This also means that the majority of coastal towns get a lot of fog, and fog less days are the exception! The road is because of the moisture and the salt very slippery, and accident prone, but by driving carefully we survived without any issues.

The scenery when driving on this salt road is the weirdest we’ve come across so far: the scorching hot and dry desert is actually next to the humid, damp and cold Atlantic Ocean, they are only separated by a small beach. The fog is thought to sustain a very rare and endemic plant to Namibia: the Welwitschia. We have not seen one today, but may have another chance in the future. The desert is exactly what you would suspect of a desert: reddish in color and really empty. No trees, virtually no shrubs and definitely no grasses. It also is very flat, quite uncommon to this land.

At Cape Cross (Kaap Kruis) a large colony of Cape Fur Seals live, which we just had to visit. We instantly regretted our decision as we jumped out of the car though: Seals do not smell nice. At all. One might say they reek. Badly as well. However, gazing upon several tens of thousands of Seals is quite the experience, and it also meant the large lenses we have been lugging around could be put to good use. 🙂

We are staying in the Twyfelfontein Country Lodge, which is as remote as it is lovely. Built onto the sides of a hill, it overlooks the majestic plains of the Twyfelfontein Conservancy, and where you can have a cold drink at a reasonable price whilst looking at the busy lives of the Rock Dassies (Klipdassen) I might actually get used to being here though, so it is a good thing we only stay one night. 😉

Fog ahoy!

After day 4, day 5 comes along. It also brings a big distance to travel, as we need to be in Swakopmund tonight. This is roughly 330kms, and if all roads are like the ones around Sossusvlei it’ll be a long day.

As Desert Camp does not serve breakfast, we need to go to the sister camp called Sossusvlei Lodge, which is far more upscale than our tented camp. This is about 4kms away, and a good short morning drive. We arrive there around 7, which is well after the people wanting to head into the Vlei this morning, and it is therefore not busy. This means all food is available, and there is plenty of room to sit. We chose a place in the morning sun, and soaked it up for a good while as we got accustomed with the knowledge that we would leave this place real soon.

The road from Sesriem to Swakopmund is long, windy, for the most part untarred and at certain points insanely scenic. It also is quite rough in a few places, and all 330kms are a blast to drive on. The tarred roads begin around 100km from Swakopmund, and about 60 from Walvisbaai. They are a welcome change, but also make for a far less interesting drive. Oh well, you cannot have everything at once!

Short after us arriving in Swakopmund, the fog starts rolling in. And when I say fog, I mean the thick stuff. In about 15 minutes, the fog from the sea is so thick visibility is limited to less than 100 metres, and temperatures have dropped quite significantly. They are down to about 14 degrees, and in your shirt an shorts, that is quite cold!

As we don’t have anything planned for today, we have visited the tiny National Marine Aquarium (where locals pay a third of the price for entry as foreigners!), and have gone out to Kücki’s Pub for dinner. Great ambiance, bad prawns. Overcooked, and way too garlicky, they are just not right. The Malva Pudding is really good by the way, so there’s that.

The weather really throws our schedule for today off course, so we’ll have to skip whatever we intended to do over here, and are leaving already tomorrow. This time to Damaraland, and a place called Twyfelfontein. Again a long drive, so we fuelled up this afternoon (<10 dollars or €0,58 for a liter of diesel) and are ready for the roads tomorrow. And for everything we might encounter en route!