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MOON LANDSCAPE NEAR SWAKOPMUND NAMIBIA. About 2 million years ago the flow rate of the Swakop River eroded this area into a 'badlands'


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Moon Landscape Namibia Near Swakopmund

About 2 million years ago the Swakop River  eroded this area into a 'badlands'



The Moon Landscape:

The stark, bare and inhospitable looking Moon Landscape has become a favourite with the film industry over recent years which regularly visits the area for location shoots. This group of Damara Granites pushed upwards through the earth's crust some 500 to 460 million years ago. This previously high mountain range has been eroded through time down to the foundations which over the past 2 million years have experienced further erosion through the actions of the Swakop River changing it into what is known as a "Badlands". The view points are well situated, but take care - there are no safety barriers.

A visit the Moon Landscape and Welwitschia Plains is well worth the effort if you are staying in one of the coastal towns. You should plan about four hours for the 140km round trip. If there's mist along the coast it should be burning off in the area of the Moon Landscape by 10h00. If you drive out earlier - above left is what you will see. Below right you can see the early morning mists burning-off on left-hand side of photo to reveal the stark badlands surface.


Early Morning mists over the Moon Landscape

Sometimes Obscured By Early Morning Mists

Morning mists burning-off from the Moon Landscape site at 10:00

10:00 mists burning away


Permit Required: The tour route lays within the Northern Namib Naukluft Park and a permit is required for driving on all roads except the C14, C28, D1982 and D1998. Permits are obtainable for a nominal fee at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism Offices in Swakopmund. and you will be supplied with a map indicating points of interest and overnight desert camping sites.   Entry Fees Payable


General Location of Moon Landscape

Erongo Region

Map of Namibia

What to See

Swakopmund Map

Walk-About-Tour 1

Walk-About-Tour 2

Swakop History 1

Swakop History 2



Martin Luther

Mole & Harbour

Moon Landscape

Welwitschia Plants


Moon Landscape Getting There: Drive the B2 road from Swakopmund towards Windhoek. After 0.5km you will see the 'Martin Luther' Steam Engine on your right hand side. At 1.2km you will see the road sign 'Namib Park C28 Khomas Hochland'. The gravel roads are suitable for saloon cars. There are no fuel stations or shops on the route, so be prepared and take some refreshments and drinks. Turn onto the C28 gravel road.

Map of Welwitschia Tour Drive


The signs to the sites are well placed

Good Signs

To untrained eyes the surrounding desert may seem empty and barren, but if you look for signs of life you will see plenty of desert shrubs, many of which are several hundreds of years old, and in places lichens. The reference points on the map relate to stone numbered signs that are placed alongside the road at points of interest. Visitors are requested to stay on the road as the desert surface is considered an eco sensitive area. Lichens grow less than 1mm per year.




Lichens:  The Ordovician Period was the second period of the Paleozioc Era (488 to 444 million years ago). The super-continent of Gondwana  (Africa, South America and Australia) had taken position over the Southern Polar Region where and a great Ice-Age spread over much of the land. It was in the Ordovician period that the first Lichens crept out of the seas to begin their colonising of the land. They are an extremely hardy life form that can be found nestling on rocky arid surfaces from the polar regions to the tropics. Their presence provides a protection for the ground surface from water and wind erosion and thus a critical factor in the evolutionary process. In the dense forests that circle the sub-arctic regions of the northern hemisphere and spreading across the vast tundra thick mats of Lichens blanket the land again playing a critical roll in the food chain.


Lichens are not a single organism, as with most other life forms. It was the English author Beatrix Potter, famous for her Peter Rabbit books, who in addition to her writing of children's books made a study of Lichens over many years first proposed that Lichens were two different life forms living in symbiosis.( Lichens comprise of two organisms living together in special association.) The larger part of the lichen is composed of fungal filaments amongst which lives a, usually green, algae.

Take care not to step onto what might appear to be dead vegetation. What may appear to be dead plant life can in fact be lichens. When water is poured on them they unfold and change colour.


Xanthomaculina convoluta





Dollar Bush - referred to for its' coin shaped leaf. Named after a German geologist named Stapff who was prospecting the Kuiseb Valley in 1885-1886. You'll find plenty of Dollar Bushes on the gravel plains of the northern Namib Desert.

Old Wagon Wheel Tracks: Here you can see tracks left by the oxen-wagons that plied the Old Bay Road from the coast to the hinterland over 100 years ago. It will take centuries before these tracks disappear.

Goanikontes Oasis: Take a detour for a couple of kilometres to the oasis at Goanikontes. It lays in the 'dry' Swakop River bed. There's plenty of Eucalyptus and Palm trees that offer shade for a roadside picnic. At the turn of the 19th century the farm used to provide Swakopmund with much of its fresh produce requirements. You will find a pleasant Rest Camp bungalows and chalets for overnights and a restaurant where you can enjoy coffee and cake. Braai / picnic areas. Day Visitor Fee N$20 pp


Dollar Bush

Dollar Bush

Ox wagon tracks

Ox-Wagon Tracks

Goanikontes Oasis


Scrap half-track from WW1

WWI Scrap

Dolerite Dyke

Dolerite Dike


Scrap Metal: In 1915 the Union of South Africa troops camped at this point. The rusted remains of petrol cans and an early form of steel vehicle track can be seen. Visitors are asked not to remove any of the parts.

Dolerite-Dyke: During the time of the break-up of Gondwana, as Africa and South America began their drift apart, great stress cracks appeared in the nearby earth's crust. Molten magma forced its way into these cracks and solidified while still at a sub-surface level. Over millions of years the surrounding 'softer' rocks eroded away leaving long ridges of rocky 'outcrops' having a dark, almost black 'backbone'. A good example of this can be seen while driving down the road towards the Swakop-River. You will pass through a man-made cut that exposes the dolerite dyke. It is an excellent example.


Camping Area Swakop River

Camp Sites by the Swakop-River there are shaded with bbq area. No electricity, no water and dry field toilets. Tranquil and away from it all, a night or two out here under the stars with no light or noise pollution will make for a memorable experience.


The camp areas in the national park can be booked through the Swakopmund office of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. contact details and   Entry Fees Payable


  Tour Part 2 Welwitschia Plants


Acknowledgements and further reading: GV1, P1, P2, T4, T5.

The Moon-Landscape and Welwitschia Plants lay within a National Park area, so there are entrance fees payable to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.  Entry Fees Payable

Of Interest: It is estimated that Lichens are the dominant vegetation on about 8% of the Earth's land surface.


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