4. The Namib desert

Again The Wandelgek departed early from Hammerstein, in the truck, for a long journey along the Naukluft mountain range and across the Namib Desert towards the Namibian coast in the west. The first part of the journey went north and overlapped the journey of the day before until the western exit to Sesriem was reached. This time the truck continued north on the road to new adventures.
The journey continued to the small town of Solitaire and the Solitaire Bakery, where lots of beautiful car wrecks lay scattered on its grounds. For more about these car wrecks see my earlier blog post: 2. Namibia: The south – Car Wrecks, Seeheim, Spaghetti Western, Bethanie, Helmeringhausen, Paris Texas and wild cats at the Hammerstein Camp Site

Actually, town or village are too big words for this pit stop which consists of nothing more than a small lodge, a general store and a bakery. Imagine a huge empty sandy terrain scattered with cacti and a stray gasoline pump. Some of the aforementioned buildings surrounded by decaying car carcasses scattered casually around the grounds give this place the atmosphere of a desert road movie a la Paris Texas by Wim Wenders. I find that sort of thing really beautiful and can barely contain my shooting pictures. No big impressive canyons, huge waterfalls or high table mountains. None of that, but just slowly decaying car skeletons in the dry desert sand under an unforgiving, blazing sun … and the bakery of “Moose” McGregor which here in the middle of the big nothing of the Namib desert is very famous because of its apfelstrudel. And that’s sooo delicious if you’re totally not expecting to get such a delicacy. “Moose” died in 2014, but the bakery is continued using his secret recipe.

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The Wandelgek then traveled further north towards and over the Gaub pass through a dry and empty desert. Here were no beautiful, high red dunes of Sossusvlei, but here was the true Namib Desert, stretching for hundreds of kilometers along the Namibian coast as an elongated dry and flat ribbon of sand and stone, which in its most extreme form was known as The Skeleton Coast. More about that in a later blog post. The roads in this landscape seemed to disappear into nothingness in both directions. The Talking Heads have a song called Road to nowhere. Could they also have been here?

After the Gaub pass, the Tropic of Capricorn was crossed and thus the tropical climate zone was reached. It had become gradually warmer starting at Cape Town and now reaching the Tropic of Capricorn every day and the journey was far from reaching its final destination where the climate is outright hot.

After passing the Tropic of Capricorn, The Wandelgek proceeded towards the magnificent Guiseb pass. The landscape was really getting stranger and sometimes it seemed as if The Wandelgek drove through a moonscape rather than an earthly landscape. The landscape was barren, but thus not less beautiful.

Strange lunar landscape on top of the Guiseb pass...

Strange lunar landscape on top of the Guiseb pass…

After the Guiseb pass, the Guiseb Canyon was reached and there you could see the road dive down towards the plains of the Namib Desert. Also the road here turned westward. The canyon and surrounding rocks formed an alien landscape, such a landscape over which you could watch for hours without the least getting bored.

The journey proceeded and after descending to the Namib desert plain, to this huge, barren plain with sometimes an occasional mountain in the distance on top of which a radio mast was placed for mobile phones 😉 Yes the range of the mobile phone network in Namibia was actually not that bad.

Empty plain of the Namib desert...

Empty plain of the Namib desert…

After crossing the desert plain for several hours westbound, The Wandelgek paused at such a mountain named Vogelfederberg (Bird feather mountain). Right in the big nothing stood a small wooden toilet building and there were some strangely shaped rocks.

After again driving a few hours westward, the fact that clouds appeared in the west, was an indication that the coast was reached, because the clouds came from the ocean, driven inland but solving almost immediately after passing the thin coastal area. The desert had a completely cloudless, bright blue sky.

Thus The Wandelgek reached Walvis Bay, which is the main port of Namibia and after driving around Walvis Bay, he drove north along the coast towards Swakopmund, where the truck arrived late in the afternoon. The hotel in Swakopmund was surrounded by high walls and armed guards at the gate posted there day and night.

The Wandelgek checked in and in the evening he went in to the town center of Swakopmund to eat and drink.

Swakopmund is a place with many German citizens, but more about that in the next blog post.

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