Skeleton Coast FoZ DO Kunene
A coast of loneliness, contrast and history. A journey to the most North-Western part of Namibia. To be on this route is a privilege, as not many people pass through this part of Namibia and is one of the most remote areas of this beautiful country. A route from Swakopmund to Puros or Sesfontein, covering about 1.500km, with the most unusually sceneries, from mountains to plains and beaches quite a few shipwrecks and over dunes. Let’s GO!!
We meet with Nico Burger of Coast 2 Coast Tours in the early morning (6.30am) on the first day at the Shell petrol station and last circle on the Hentiesbay road (time may differ). C2C supplies each car with a radio transmitter so that he can keep in touch with the convoy, warning us and telling us on route what to do and what not to do. He is very strict about the tracks we follow as not to make new ones. Stop at Zeila wreck that was stranded on the 25th of August in 2008. Hentiesbay is just a short stop. We drive to the entrance gate of the park. The first of many shipwrecks we will see, is the South West Seal, that was beached in 1976. We also visit the old rusted Toscanini oil rig which closed in 1976. Diamonds were never found in that area. Only some with not much value. It is now a breeding place for cormorants and we have seen fresh tracks of Hyena but I think they smelt us before they saw us! The patterns of the rest of the rig make splendid photographic opportunities. On we go to Terrace Bay, also a very popular place for fishing, where we have lunch. This is the last opportunity for all to refuel seeing as for the next 1000 km there won’t be any shops or any life except ourselves and the animals.
• Diesel: 220 liter per motor.
• Petrol: 290 liter per motor.
Moeb Bay is the un-official border between Damaraland and Kaokoveld and is our last contact with people as here we enter a park only accessable with a permit. Away from pollution, people and any sight of life from here onwards, only to hear your own heartbeat and the sound of the waves on the beach. An absolute quietness and pure bliss. 10 vehicles winding along the most beautiful sceneries. Just North of Moeb Bay Nico looks for a nice overnight spot and finds one between some dunes. Our cook puts on a fire and we all set up our tents. We enjoy a “boesman’s TV“ fire and have a wonderful lambspotjie with veggies. Our first day has passed too quickly but very enjoyable.
This day is going to be an interesting day as the scenery changes from riverbeds and high mountains to plains with the most stunning colors. Barren, with dark brown colors and the yellow of the sand. The orange of the lichens that brighten up the whole area. Lichens are a symbolic relationship between fungus and algae and are well adapted to survive in harsh conditions. The desert hosts 120 species. Some are black on rocks and even found in fields. Put some water on them and watch them become green. This is something amazing to see. Onward we go along the beach to Cape Fria and see hundreds of seals. Interesting to read is the book Skeleton Coast, written by John H Marsh. He writes the true story of the history of the Duneden Eden Star shipwreck and the rescue that took place in 1942. Almost unbelievable how so many people were stranded on the beach for almost 14 days and how they survived. We make camp that night where they had their shelter without hardly anything to eat or drink and how they endured the sun, wind and the absolute nothingness around them. Thinking of them makes you become very quiet. You are well organized, have food and shelter, but except for 2 rescuers, everyone was brought to safety from their horrible ordeal. Well advised to read the book. Or even Google Skeleton Coast by John Marsh.
Today we will reach the Kunene mouth. First over some dunes and then stopping to have a beautiful view of the Bosluis Bay. Before arriving at the Kunene you will be warned not to go too close to the water as there could be crocodiles. Be on the look out for turtles. We have a good look here and see Angola on the other side! From there we go over the dunes with beautiful contrasts of the color of the sand against the dark mountains. Look back every now and then. We look for a place to camp and discuss the day we experienced, around the fire.
Over the dunes Nico will take you to a lovely spot where you have a beautiful view over the mountains at the Angola side and dunes at Namibia side and the river far down.. A visit to a cave is on the list and we stop and have a look around, very unusually and beautiful. Going down over the dunes we stop near the river and a walk to the river is a must.
Before departing you can walk again to the river and see the rapids, climbing over huge boulders. Warned again to be careful as crocodiles may have the same thought as you and go for a walk !! Dune driving is next on the list. Soon the scenery changes again and we leave the dunes. Here you will see lonely trees and plains and some riverbeds, yes, it is the Hartmans Valley, beautiful open spaces filled with quite a lot of Oryx. Stopping at the green drum, for the fun someone left an old laptop there you can send a “mock” email!! Suddenly you remember that you have been almost a week without any connection to the outside world.
You might see some Welwitschia’s today on route. The Castles made out of clay in the Hoarusib River will leave you speechless. Someone wrote: ” If there are any doubts as to the incredible power of the ancient forces that played havoc in Western Namibia many millions years ago, then the white grayish sedimentary clay walls high up in the Hoarusib will dispel them.” Here we are, walking along them. We look so tiny next to them. Sleeping that night we stop not far from the castles and we can wonder around a while the next morning again. Try and google and read more about it, it is amazingly stunning. We camp nearby these castles and the next morning you can walk and see some more.
Today is a river day, descending to the Hoarusib river and driving through water streams with the most beautiful mountains on both sides. Till we come to the famous “Poort”, entering the Puros Canyon. Depending on the time and if you see the desert elephants you may perhaps sleep over in Puros. If you didn’t see the elephant Nico will go further up the river to look for them. The next day we have to say goodbye leaving you with wonderful memories.