Spitzkoppe and the little 5

Usakos Travel Blog

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I joined up with a German desert tour out to the Spitzkoppe (often called the Matterhorn of Namibia, because it apparently looks similar) and through the Namib Desert to Namib-Naukluft National Park to find the "Little 5" (Web-footed Gecko, Sidewinder, Namaqua Desert Chameleon, White Lady Spider and the Shovel-Snouted Lizard). Actually the trip turned out to be really cool as the German couple couldn't make it so instead of the guy canceling my tour, he just took me out. So I got a private tour out of the deal. We started out into the desert, because at dusk and dawn everything is out moving around, midday it is too hot. We had a alot of luck actually as the gecko is mainly nocturnal, but we were able to find one, got to see a chameleon eat a Tok Tokkie (a little beetle that burries its head in the sand to find water) and found a sidewinder sunbathing on rock between the dunes. Also while driving around we found a bunch of Springboks and some other animals that look sort of like North American deer, but I can't remember the name. The guy said that is not very common to see them because there are not too many left here. The guy leading the tour was a 3rd generation Namibian and his grandfather came with the "Schutztruppen" from Germany and fought in Namibia during Word War 1. We discussed everything from American Politics and Namibian Politics to all the problems of the world. One thing I found interesting is that he always gets Austrians (ich will aber niemanden beleidigen) who come and do tours with him and then ask if he can book them any sex tours or recommend to them any brothels. I was stunned as Namibia has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world. We then explored the local plant life (saw the oldest plant on earth, the Welwitschia) so if I ever get stranded in the desert, I know how to suck the salty water out of certain plants to survive and not to drink the milk of the local cactus which will kill you. After lunch, where we ate Oryx, African Antelope, excellent btw, it was on to the Spitzkoppe. It is nice because the surrounding area is totally flat so it looks cool and can be seen for miles away. The rock formations are cool and the San art that is left intact. Not too many people have climbed it because it is too smooth, some people have slid off and died. On the way into town we stopped to walk up a few of the larger dunes barefoot, which felt fantastic. There are iron deposits in the sand that keep it nice and warm and also make it a hot spot for campers.
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photo by: tmagnani