Great 4×4 routes in Southern Damaraland
17 June. After a few days resting and reorganising in Swakopmund (including sweeping half the desert out of Landy) we decide to head a short way up the Skeleton Coast and then head inland on some 4×4 routes to southern Damaraland. We break the drive up with a night in Henties Bay which, during the summer, is rammed with fishermen but at the moment it is really quiet and not a place to linger. The drive along this part of the coast is on a good tar road with great views of the ocean and it even has a place to stop and walk onto the beach to see a shipwreck. However, even out here, miles from the town, we are bombarded with guys trying to sell us rocks of varying size and hue. The mineral rich environment here does mean that there are some beautiful rocks, particularly the varying hues of quartz, but the constant pushy salesmen do get very tiresome to say the least. We resist the temptation to load our already heavy Land Rover up with lumps of rock and head off inland to, hopefully deserted, southern Damaraland in the Kunene region.
Some serious Off roading 4×4 tracks
We are heading first to the Brandberg massif, Namibia’s highest mountain at 2573m and measuring about 30km by 23km at its base. To get from the coast to Brandberg we decide to go across country using the extensive network of 4×4 routes, starting out on the Mineral route and then joining up with the Brandberg one and hopefully managing this in one day. As we turn off the tar road we can see for miles all around us as the land is seriously flat, with only salt pans and occasional plants breaking the monotony of gravel and sand. This goes on for mile after mile and we are beginning to think we might never arrive at the mountain, surely we would see it from miles away? We take a small detour to take a look at an old quartz mine, known as the Dead Sea, which is now a deep saline pool with water so clear and still that it is difficult to see where the ground ends and the reflection begins.
The terrain is beginning to change and become a little more interesting. The track becomes rockier and more challenging and we are glad of our “tracks4africa” gps because in several places we just can’t see the “road.” There are other vehicle tracks around us but they all seem to be heading in different directions and so, in the end, we just key in the co-ordinates, point towards our destination and weave between rocks until we find another, more official looking, track. We hit a lot of deep sand on the way as well and we can see where people have had to take detours to avoid the worse bits. Once again we are pleased with Landy’s performance, she doesn’t let us down and eventually we find a good, well graded, gravel track and ahead of us we can see the looming lump of rock that is Brandberg, dominating the desert plains around it.