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Published: August 8th 2012
Well we’ve just got back from the Messum Crater, a round trip of 393km taking nearly 9 hours, but well worth the effort. The crater is 35km from the nearest road and 20km across with no roads or signs just tracks made by the previous vehicles to visit.
We hit the salt road north along the skeleton coast towards Henties Baai. Just before the town is the wreck of the Zeila, an Angolan fishing trawler that was wrecked on the coast four years ago. We called into Henties Baai where we made a quick stop to purchase the guide to the Messum Crater. Then we pushed on north with the Brandberg Mountain on the horizon, until just past Cape Cross before turning off road for the 40km run across the dirt track to the crater edge.
We’ve mentioned before how vast everything is in the Namibian landscape and the crater was no exception. I think it would be true to say that it would be a geologist and botanist’s dream, with its huge array of different rocks and landscapes and, despite the extremely dry winter climate, a variety of flora, notably the Welwitschia mirabilis, a most unusual plant which
is endemic to the Namib Desert.
Richard, our host at Sandfields Guest House, where we have been staying at Swakopmund, had visited the crater before and was able to give us some hints, including the whereabouts of some ancient cave paintings and amazingly we managed to find these, which was thrilling.
Surprisingly, despite the lack of food in evidence, we saw several springbok within the crater area and Rob thought he saw a cat of some sort chasing one over a ridge ahead of us. Further investigation showed some tracks that certainly looked like those of a feline, but we have no idea what type it might have been. There were lots of tracks of various sorts to be seen and in several areas we saw the animal tracks following those of the vehicles.
One of the most spectacular sights was the drive out down the dry Messum riverbed with evidence of a deep and fast flowing river way back in the past creating river ‘terraces’.
Having driven all the way around the crater, we hit the road again and on the way back we stopped at Cape
Cross for coffee and use of the facilities. It was a lovely spot and definitely worth a visit.
All the way down the road I had my eyes peeled for meercats and every time I saw a likely area I expected to see some but with no luck. Perhaps we will see some in Damaraland, which is our next stop tomorrow.
Not sure when we will be able to post again after we leave here tomorrow.
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