Coffee, Steps and Incredible Rock Formations - Day 336 & 337
A couple of days here, drinking lots of coffee, thousands of steps, meeting great people, learning loads and seeing some incredible rock formations, a geologist's dream.
Day 336 was mainly walking to local cafes. We had heard that Two Beards Coffee had the best coffee in town so after catching up on admin, we walked through the residential streets, passed a school, the reservoir, over the railway line, into the industrial area and finally arrived at the Two Beards café. On the way, we were stopped at least 5 times by people offering us a lift…mainly taxis but not all, a few hoping to earn a bit of extra money. The café lived up to its great reputation. A full bodied coffee and a nice lunch. The Shakshuka I ate could have had a thicker sauce, but the bread and salad were delicious. We chatted to Roy, the elder of the two beards. Roy retired and started roasting his own coffee as a hobby, then the whole thing snowballed, with more and more people wanting his coffee. Eventually, he turned this into a business with his son, the other beard, and, as well as this delightful large café, they export their roasted coffee around the world, including the UK. I love hearing stories like this, how people turn their hobbies into viable and successful businesses. We decided to walk into town and yet another car stopped. This time we recognised the driver. It was Emsie, our lovely host. I was very relieved as I was feeling a bit tired. She dropped us off in town and we wandered around for a bit, then walked along the shoreline, stopping off at an old yellow American style bus called Fork n Nice for a nice cup of tea. We eventually got back to our room and had a guess as to how many steps we had done. Tim was way off at 15k…we’d done 19,951 steps, so I walked around the room for another 49 steps before collapsing on the bed for a rest.
Day 337 – We had heard about Spitzkoppe from a few of the people on the Desert tour the other day. I looked on the internet and realised it was within reach, so we decided to hire a car and drive the 100 odd miles there. Emsie kindly drove Tim down to the hire place where he upgraded the car from a little run-around to an SUV on the recommendation of the salesman, and so glad he did. The first three-quarters of the journey were fine, but the last 25 miles were on rough gravel tracks. As we got nearer we could see the weird shapes of the granite peaks standing out from the flat Namib Desert which are over 120 million years old. We juddered up the long bumpy road, past the little stalls, some made from drink cans, with people wanting us to buy their wares. We hardly buy anything apart from experiences, food, coffee, travel costs and accommodation, so we didn’t stop.
The great big orangey-red rocks loomed up. What a sight. They reminded me of Uluru and Kata Tjuta in the middle of Australia. The Spitzkoppe is also known as the "Matterhorn of Namibia" and rises to an altitude of 1728 metres. These enormous granite rocks were created by the collapse of a gigantic volcano many million years ago. Since then, the outer layer of rock has been blown off by wind erosion exposing very smooth granite some amazing shapes. The place is renowned to be difficult to climb and it wasn’t conquered until 1946. Therefore we only climbed some of the lower rocks, and even then I needed Tim to give me a hoof up! The place is beautiful and definitely should be included in the Lonely Planet’s Top 500, according to us anyway. We parked the car and went in search of the Rock Pool. After climbing a boulder or two, we found a long dip with signs that water had been there at some time. This region is very dry, and even Swakopmund, despite being next to the sea, only gets a maximum of 2cm of rain each year – and that’s if they are lucky! As we were walking around, finding tiny pieces of shell in the rock, Tim dropped his bottle top. Ping…ping…ping it went, bouncing down into a crevice. Luckily I spotted it, so rather than leave plastic sitting in this wonderful environment, he managed to squeeze his way down and retrieve said bottle top.
We drove further along and managed to park the car in a bit of shade. Whilst driving here, we noticed that the outside temperature had risen from 19 degrees when in Swakopmund to 34 degrees here and rising. I am glad I was wearing my trousers cum shorts! We wandered around, not seeing another soul…and then I spotted some movement. What was it? I noticed a tiny head peering over a rock about 20 foot above. Tim then noticed a few more of these creatures and managed to take a photo of them having a sunbathe. But what were they? We eventually found out later from Emsie, when we had a lovely meal out together, that they were Dassie Rats or in the UK they are known as Rock Rats. Crikey, massive rats of about two feet long! We carried around walking and found what I was looking for. The Bridge. An incredible creation of rock that has formed this bridge. We both climbed up to stand underneath, I was keeping my fingers crossed that it wouldn’t decide to tumble at that moment. The more we looked at this stunning landscape the more we could see different animal shapes depicted from the rock. I saw an elephant, a whale and a cat and Tim also saw male parts of the body – typical. What a wonderful place. Many people camp here, so if you ever get a chance to come to this wonderful country, make sure you have time to do this, unlike us. I hope we are encouraging you to come. It really is a great place.