We had picked an entry permit and a brochure outlining the drive from the Ministry of Environment & Tourism office in Swakopmund. The brochure outlined a drive called 'The Weleitschia Plains –A Scenic Drive’. The brochure its self looks very old and I have basically copied it onto the blog in case it goes out of print and you want to do this drive. For some reason I did not take many photos, and apologise for this!!
The round trip by car takes approximately four hours, allowing you to get out at each of the numbered beacons , there are 13, and explore the area with the help of the brochure. The required permit, which allows entrance to the park as a whole is obtainable from the offices (as mentioned above) in Swakopmund. (There are not any gates or guards to check you in and out). A camping permit is required if you wish to camp.
1. No Photo. At first glance it would seem that the Namib desert is a dry and barren region. But if you look closely the ground is covered in stones and lichens. The lichens depend on the fog and mist for there survival. Unfortunately the lichens were all gone, or dead, but I had seen the BBC wildlife programme 'The Private Life of Plants', this was where it was filmed, (was that why the plants were all gone?) so understood what the brochure was alluding to.
2. No Photo. The Dollar bush this is one of two types of bush drought resistant bushes found all over the Namib. The dollar bush, so called because its leaves are the size of a dollar coin, and the ink bush. Both can survive without rain for years.
3 No Photo. Tracks of ox-wagons Although made decades ago, these are still visible here, showing clearly the damage that can so easily be done to the lichen fields by driving over them.
Some photos can bee seen on this link http://www.namibia-1on1.com/moon-landscape.html
4. The moonscape This is an unusual and spectacular view, usually called the moonscape, looking over a landscape formed by the Swakop River. It is best seen in the slanting light of early morning or late afternoon. It really did look like a moon scape!
10.The Swakop River Valley. Compared to the desert plains this riverbed has lush vegetation. It It includes wild tamarisk (Tamarix usurious), and anaboom (Acacia albida), better known for its occurrence in the humid Zambezi valley almost 1,000 miles east – sustained by underground water percolating through the sands beneath your feet. You can Picnic and camp here, but you must book first with the office in Swakopmund. It was very isolated.
The drive was interesting, and with out the printed brochure I don't think we would have stopped to look at the small things. The Lonely Planet does outline the drive in the 'Botswana & Namibia Book', but it would be more difficult to follow than it was with the brochure.