WATCH | Spitzkoppe: What you should know about visiting one of Namibia's most beautiful landscapes

2020-01-08 16:45 - Gabi Zietsman
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It's hard to describe the Spitzkoppe. 

It's a place that feeds the visual senses - and the sweat glands - where a photo really does speak a thousand words.

A photographer's dream, its smooth rocks and crags beckon those explorers at heart to dive into its folds. Heavenly substance is rare here - plants have to hoard their precious waters, much like the ancestors of old who once made this desert playground their home.

The granite peaks are both beautiful and desolate - hard to believe that it's under two hours away from the bustling coastal town of Swakopmund - a place also forged out of nothing on the Skeleton Coast. 

Beyond the breathtaking plateaus, Spitzkoppe also offers a climbing amusement park that can rival the Cederberg - experienced enthusiasts can camp right at the base of the top climbs. 

There are also numerous campsites scattered throughout the area, all offering different kinds of views and experiences - some a little more secret than others - and at night your local stars will burn brightly in the sky rather than a television screen as entertainment.

If you can hear your name being called from the other side of the border, here's what you should know about visiting this rocky paradise in Namibia. 

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spitzkoppe landscape and rock formations

(Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

Camping

While you have to pre-book to camp, you can't reserve a camping site, so get there as early as possible to get a good spot.

Ensure you choose one that offers some natural shade - from a tree or boulder - and with lots of exploration opportunities on-foot. My recommendation would be one of the two 'secret' campsites that will show on the map. Some are busier than others, but most sites are far enough from each other that you'll have some sense of isolation - but be on the lookout for big tour busses and head in the opposite direction.

While there are bush toilets available, showers are only available at reception - so either make shower runs or bring your own.

For those looking for a little more luxury, you can also stay in a community-run tented camp just outside Spitkzkoppe or splash out at the pricey Spitzkoppen Lodge with their sleek chalets and inclusive meals.

READ: Discover Namibia: 3 Top routes to explore 

campsite at spitzkoppe

Secret campsite. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman) 

Day visit

If you're just driving through for the day, the best time is to get there as the sun rises, giving you lots of time to explore before it gets too hot.

Pack lots of water (you'll go through it fast) and a picnic to eat for lunch - opt for a quiet spot under a tree somewhere rather than the designated picnic area. The best time to leave is when it's at its hottest just after lunch. There's also a restaurant and bar if you prefer to eat out.

You also don't need a 4x4 to visit Spitzkoppe - just careful, slow driving on dirt roads. 

WATCH: Namibia 4x4 adventure: The winter road trip you've been itching to plan 

rock formations, the bridge

The Bridge. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman) 

Rock formations

One of the most popular sights for photos is the Bridge - a beautiful archway that perfectly frames the surrounding area. If you're a climber there are some pitons to assist you to get on top of the arch.

After rains there are also rock pools to check out, normally filled with tadpoles and dries up quickly. 

woman posing under rock arch

(Photo: Gabi Zietsman) 

Hiking

There are three walking routes that you can take - Pontok, Matterhorn and the Bushman Circle Route. The Matterhorn is the most difficult, taking between six and eight hours and lets you almost summit Spitzkoppe's highest peak.

You can only do these hiking routes with a local guide, which you can organise at reception - but call ahead to ensure someone's available.

SEE: Easy flight trips: A long weekend in Swakopmund - the most German place in Africa

rock formation

(Photo: Gabi Zietsman) 

Rock paintings

The main site is Bushman's Paradise, with paintings dating back to 4 000 years, although vandalism has tarnished them somewhat. 

There are also more to be seen at the chain walk, and in the private lodge's reserve you should also check out the Golden Snake painting - but remember you need a guide to see all the rock paintings. They are employed by the reserve and work for tips - enquire at reception or you'll find them at the entrance to the sites. 

chain walk up granite peak

The chain walk to the rock paintings. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman) 

Climbing

The climbing routes are only for professionals, but offer some of the best in the world. Speak to reception about where you want to climb and they will let you know if you need a guide. 

There are eight routes up Gross Spitzkoppe's western face, and you can also try out the sheer wall-face at Herero Chat.

ALSO SEE: The lonely road to the middle of nowhere for the best apple tart in Namibia

herero chat wall rock formation

The Herero Chat Wall. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

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