Sossusvlei and Luderitz

Last weekend we rented a car and set the course for Sossusvlei. We took the route by C26 and then over the Spreetshoogte pass. The view was fantastic when we came over the mountains, and I would recommend the route for others. The gravel roads where nice and in good conditions, with the exception of the Tsondab river blocking the road just south of Solitaire. However A short detour about 30km along C14 was fine. We spent the night at a lodge 60km from Sossusvlei, and left there before sunrise early in the morning. We reached the gate to Sossusvlei just a few minutes before sunrise.

Sossusvlei sunrise

The last few months Sossusvlei has actually gotte som rain. It’s still a dessert, but on the gravel planes there was some water making some fantastic scenery.

Dunes in Sossusvlei

The dunes had beautiful scenery to offer, but there where also quite a lot of basking beetles and small lizards. One on the most common we saw was the Wedge Snouted Lizard. This little endemic lizard resembles the Shovel snouted lizard I saw in the dunes outside Swakopmund.

Wedge Snouted LizardDead vleiDune 45

After half a day in Sossusvlei we continued our trip down to Lüderitz. It’s a long drive, but we just made it and was there about 30 minutes after sunset. We checked in at Kratzplatz, a lovely littl bed and breakfast that i can recomend to anyone going to Lüderitz. They make some awesome good pizzas. The next day we visited Kolmanskop, the ghost town. This is where the first diamonds where found in Namibia in 1908, but it was abandoned in 1956 when the operations moved to Oranjemund. It’s amazing that all of the diamonds where found on the surface, and no diamonds are found deeper than two meters down. Now it serves as a tourist attraction, but the area around is still forbidden area, and there is probably still possible to find diamonds there. However all the diamond there belong to Namdeb, and stealing a diamond will land you eight years in prison. Needless to say it is a good idea to stay out of the restricted areas.

At Kolmanskop it’s also possible to buy diamonds, but unfortunatly not on saturdays, so we had to leave without being in possession of a precious carbon piece.

KolmanskopIce factory

After a guided tour around the ghost town we went exploring on our own. We where warned about that scorpions and snakes could be inside the houses, so we should watch our step. Unfortunately I didn’t come across any of those, but only a rabbit and an agama.

Next we took a drive out to the coast. Signs again warned us about entering the restricted area. The Atlantic Ocean was cold and it was very windy on the coast. Some kitesurfers enjoyed the strong wind in the bay, but out on the ocean the waves where high. We went all the way to Dias Point Cross, but had to hold on tight not to get blown of the stairs. i almost lost my sunglasses as they blew of my head.

The cafe at Dias Point had excellent oysters and good coffee and chocolate  cake.

Dias Cross

On Our way back to Windhoek we took the route through Keetmanshoop. Not as much to see as over the mountains, but some interesting points along the way. Just west of Aus there is viewing point for the Namibian wild horses. As a bonus to the horses we also saw a gekko (yet to be identified) and a sandsnake!!! As I’ve already had held this snake earlier I recognized it immediately. Didn’t pick it up, but rather followed it. It didn’t take much notice of me, but was on the hunt for prey. It slided silently from shrub to shrub, stopping occasionally looking out for small geckos it could eat. For as long as I followed it, it didn’t find any…

Gecko west of AusSandsnake

We stayed overnight in Keetmanshop, and saw Quivertree forest and Garas Park. There I also found a scorpion, but didn’t get to take a picture of it. If I had had the nerves I could have picked it up by the tail, but I’ve never tried that before and didn’t want to try this. Especially since it was one of the deadlier species with big tail and small pincers.

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