STOP 28 | Day 87 to 89 |
We welcomed the sun back after the last few wet days as we headed towards the town of Khorixas. About 40 kilometers from the town is a large deposit of petrified wood. The Petrified forest is a deposit of large tree trunks which have “turned to stone”. It is estimated that these fossilized tree trunks are over 280 million years old and deposited in Namibia during a flood. This flood also carried a lot of sand and mud which covered the trees and prevented exposure to air, which resulted in no decay taking place. Over millions of years and due to enormous pressure it has resulted in perfectly conserved and completely petrified trunks. Walking around the grounds you can see various pieces of the wood exposed and in one spot a trunk that was about 34 meters long! Scattered throughout the park are pieces which have gradually been unearthed through erosion and it is estimated there is more hidden below.
So far we have been very impressed by all the unique and amazing sights of Namibia! We continued our travels by heading to Spitzkoppe the next morning. Spitzkoppe is a group of granite peaks located in the Namib desert. As our tour guide led us around the deep red rocks, he also gave us more details on the history of the San people (or bushman) that use to live in the area. The San people would use paintings to document events or as a form of communication to other groups. The paintings (estimated to be over 4,000 years old) are often found on the granite overhangs, as this offered protection from the sun and wind. Drawings were made with vegetable extract, animal blood and ostrich egg (as a varnish). Most of the paintings have been destroyed but we were lucky enough to see one wall which was covered in various drawings of animals and people. We continued to hike up the mountain to get a panoramic view of the impressive granite boulders. We made our way back to the truck for lunch, and grateful as it was definitely heating up. After lunch we headed towards the city of Swakopmund, the largest coastal city in Namibia. You could feel the temperature change as we drove towards the Skeleton Coast. Within the the distance of approximately 150 kilometers the temperature dropped about 10 degrees from the high 30s. Along the coast we stopped to see the Zelia Shipwreck, a fishing boat that was sold as scrap metal to an Indian company. The fishing boat got stranded after it came loose from its towing line while on its way to India.
Like most city stops on the tour it meant a break from camping and a chance for everyone to do their own thing for a few days (as no meals are cooked at the truck while in cities). Although there are several optional activities to take part in, such as 4×4 rides, sandboarding or camel rides, we looked forward to taking it easy over the next few days. We enjoyed a late afternoon latte once we arrived in the city and headed to Kucki’s Pub for dinner that evening. Walking around the town at night is a bit eerie as there is hardly anyone on the streets, but most of the restaurants along the Main Street are packed! We had an amazing springbok fillet here and an oryx schnitzel. Not only is the town’s German origins evident in the architecture but also in its cuisine. Swakopmund was the main harbor for the Germany colony in the 1900s and also location of most German Southwest Africa offices.
After trying to sleep in the next day (our bodies have got use to waking up with the sun and all the early mornings), we walked along the water and explore the city. Having the day to ourselves we of course made a visit to a newly established leisure facility before catching up with a few others from our tour group for dinner. We enjoyed the laid back beach community vibe of the city, even with the chilly ~17 degree temperatures. It was a great few days for us to regroup and relax!