“Another glorious day in Paradise” as our leader Fred would say. Today we were off to Swakopmund via The White Lady of Brandberg, who by the way is neither white nor a lady.
The famous painting is in a river valley on the edge of the Brandberg range. The temperature in the reception area was already edging toward 40 degrees as we set off. The mountains rose ever higher around us, the heat bounced off the rocks as we ploughed our way either along the dry river valley, or negotiated rocks; all the time on the look out for the occasional tree where we could rest in the shade, have a drink of water and admire the weaver bird nests
After nearly an hour we reached the little hut below the paintings. Only six people were allowed on the platform at a time, so half the party were prised away from their water bottles (no food or drink allowed beside the paintings) and the rest of us rested gratefully in the shade. The wall paintings were amazing.
Then it was back to the coach and off across the desert to Henties Bay (120 kilometres away). As the mountains disappeared behind us there was nothing but miles and miles of gravel desert with the occasional tufts of grass and the occasional stunted tree.
Once at the coast we stopped at the first wreck along this incredibly impressive coast. As the coach door opened we were stunned at the drop in temperature (it had dropped from something near 40 degrees to a comfortable 20 degrees). There was a cool, on-shore wind blowing and we immediately reached for our fleeces before leaving the coach. Then it was a brisk walk down to the shore to see the wreck, and the inevitable photograph. We then turned to survey the scene behind us – miles and miles of desert, and realised that if one survived the shipwreck, and the perilous passage from the wreck to the shore, one’s troubles had only just started.
Namibia is a stark, rugged, empty, and unforgiving country; but nonetheless a stunningly beautiful one. It also does a wonderful line in sunsets! I can’t recommend it enough.