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SPITZKOPPE NAMIBIA. Impressive granite structure having dramatic surrealistic rock formations. A must see.

 

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Spitzkoppe and the Pontok Mountains

Impressive granite structure having dramatic surrealistic rock formations. A must see.

 

 

Spitzkoppe and Pontok Mountains

Early morning summer clouds over the Gross Spitzkoppe and Pontok Mountains

 

About 25km west of Usakos traveling on the B2 road to Swakopmund you will see the  Spitzkoppe rising an impressive 1728 m above the surrounding gravel plains. Most self drive tourists are unaware of the attractions of the Spitzkoppe area and speed right past. You need to budget at least 4hrs with a planned overnight camp being the ideal, as the best times for photographs are following sunrise and just before sunset in the summer months when the sun is well on the south side of the rock formation. The rocks reflect deep reds with sharp contrasting shadows. The formation of Spitzkoppe happened about 130 million years ago during a time when the ancient continent of Gondwana was separating to form the continents of Africa and South America. Many areas of Namibia experienced volcanic activity and it is at this time that the intrusion of magma to become known as the Damaraland Rock Complex thrust its way upwards through the older Damara Sequence that had formed between 760 to 460 million year ago. At the time of the magma intrusion and cooling within the surrounding rock, the peak of the Spitzkoppe would have been below the then ground-surface-level. The ongoing erosion of 130 million years have reduced the level of the surrounding, and softer rocks to present day ground levels. This process is called Inselberg formation and the Spitzkoppe area has many of these worn into interesting shaped rock forms.

 

Sapling clinging to rock surface having roots deep into rock fissures for water

Sapling rooted in cracks

KNown as the Dove Cave this massive granite rock resembles a whale

Whale ashore?

Spitzkoppe a rock chimney

Rock Finger

Spitzkpoppe rock feature know as the "Boxing Gloves"

Fingers or toes?

 

in the midst of all of this apparently harsh and strange world you will find an abundance of life forms that have adapted. You will find places where trees grow seemingly defiant out from the thin cracks in the rock faces. their fine root systems penetrating deep into the rock fissures where they collect moisture.

General Location of Spitzkoppe

Erongo Region

21 49'S - 1511'E

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Spitzkoppe rock bridge

Rock bridge

Spitzkoppe rock arch

And next ?

Spitzkoppe view of Pontok Mountains through rock bridge

A Perfect Picture frame

 

There is a secluded area nestled about one hundred meters up on the eastern end of the Pontok Mountains known as 'The Bushman's Paradise'. There are lengths of chain fixed to the sloping rock face to assist climbers while making their way up the smooth granite surface. The view from the top across the desert plains is reward enough, but if you're lucky and your visit coincides with the rainy season you will be treated to an understanding of why this place is named so. You'll see mini waterfalls and pools which are such a luxury in a rocky desert. Trees and flowers bloom and the wildlife will have some respite from the heat and drought, and you climbed and saw it all. Sadly many of the Bushmen paintings in this area have been vandalized. The below selection are from what is referred to as 'The Small Bushmen's Paradise' which is easy to access and is to the north of the Pontok Mountains by the Spitzkoppe. It's well signed and the rock overhang allows for an amount of shade allowing for good photographs.

 

Spitzkoppe rear view

Spitzkoppe from rear

Spitzkoppe Bushmans Paradise following rains

After the rains

Spitzkoppe Bushman paintings

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Spitzkoppe Bushman paintings

Rhino

Spitzkoppe camp site

Camp Site

 

Third Rock from the Sun? The local Damara Community manage the site. For a reasonable fee you can camp over night at designated areas amongst the rocks. It's quiet and remote and as you sit down and watch the setting sun light-up the rocks, you'll know that you really are on the  'third rock from the sun'.

 

 

Acknowledgements and further reading:  G1, H12, P1

Spitzkoppe

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