Drive Time:2 hours / Distance: 158 km
The Skeleton Coast
From Swakopmund, we journeyed north, for a short time along the Skeleton Coast. The Skeleton Coast gets its name from the many shipwrecks along these notoriously difficult waters where massive waves and fog make for a challenging passage. You can travel quite far north on the Skeleton Coast. Initially, we planned to head to Cape Cross where thousands of cape fur seals reside. However, we saw seals on our Sandwich Harbor tour, so decided to shave off a little driving time and skip it. Outside of Swakopmund, we stopped at a lesser known flamingo colony located near a salt production plant. Here there were, you guessed it, more flamingos. As a bonus, we saw a large group of pink pelicans. We did stop by the Zelia shipwreck which is located very close to the shore, and covered with many sea birds.
Next, we turned to the east out to Spitzkoppe. Here, you are back to your old friend, the gravel road. The Spitzkoppe is a group of bald granite peaks in the Namib Desert which are millions of years old. You can see them from afar, as they stand out among the flat terrain of the surrounding Namibian land. You can camp in this area, but here was our other small luxury splurge, where we chose to stay at the Spitzkoppen Lodge. These are really the only accommodations for many miles.
The Spitzkoppen Lodge
This lodging is incredibly well done. As you enter the property, there is even a designated stop for taking photos on a swing in front of the peaks. There are luxury tents which face the sunrise. Their decor is impeccable, and each has a balcony where you can grab a drink and admire the landscape. The lodge itself is built into a mountain side where you’ll find a pool and dining room with views over the massive granite peaks surrounding you. They even have a few couches placed on the rocks for viewing the sunset with a cocktail. The pool here is beautiful mimicking a natural pool in the rock formation. The food here was very delicious with a set menu and they even had a special dessert for my birthday.
We did one small group tour of about 2 hours to see the bushman paintings and the Spitzkoppe Arch. We probably could have done this on our own but you do need a guide from the lodge or one of the local guides at the paintings to enter.
The final thing I will say about this lodge in the winter as it can get very windy. Apparently this happens a few times a week in the winter and the wind was howling though the area!