Spitzkoppe is a brilliantly orange granite mountain guarding a scattered cluster of equally as vivid orange but slightly smaller rock mountains. The colorful rock ridges sprout up in the middle of the Namib desert, with barely a person or building for miles and miles.
The remoteness of the Spitzkoppe peaks means there are no camping facilities in the vicinity. Which meant we’d be roughing it again at a bush camp. This time I wasn’t as wary about the bush camping. I had survived our bush camp of the Okavango Delta. And in fact, I had appreciated the certain magic involved with being so far from civilization and amenities. The only thing to do is sit back, absorb the peacefulness of the surrounding wilderness, and forget that there is such thing as buildings and cars and phones and computers and other things that make man-made noise.
We set up our tents in the shadow of the mammoth rocks. As the sun started its downward plunge in the eastern sky, Adam and I popped open a bottle of wine and helped Sergeant Cuisinier Charles chop some veggies for that night’s highly anticipated dinner of shepherd’s pie (or – as pointed out by the Englishmen in our group – more accurately described as cottage pie, since we were using beef instead of lamb).
The rest of our group had paid for a guided walk around the area, but Adam and I didn’t want to spend extra money on something we could do on our own. We also always have a great time hanging out and joking around with Charles, and it was nice to just chill for a bit after the long day on the road.
After we had produced a large pile of chopped carrots and onions, Adam and I left Charles to his mastery and went to explore the orange mountainy area. Our group was on top of the monstrous rock that was casting its shadow on our campsite. We walked around the base of the rock behemoth until we found a spot that looked climbable. Scrambling up the steep side of the rock, we made it to the top in time to watch the sunset with our friends.
It was an unbelievable sunset, with some of the rock formations burning red while others turned gray in shadow. Being so high on the rock gave us an almost bird’s-eye view of the miles of desert. The sand and dry bushes of the desert twisted around the mountains until reaching the spot where the sun finally disappeared over the edge of the earth.
With the sun down, the isolated area quickly began to get dark. We hurried down the steep rock to sit around the campfire and stuff our stomachs with shepherd’s (cottage) pie. As Joey would say, beef sauteed with peas and onions is gooooood.
After seconds – okay, thirds – of the meaty pie deliciousness, I lost myself staring into the infinite field of stars until I was rudely interrupted by the arrival at our campsite of a genet, a small spotted cat with a raccoon-like tail. I took this as a sign that it was time for bed. I fell immediately asleep upon sprawling out on top of my sleeping bag. The absolute quietness of the desert and the protection from the desert wind by the tall rocks produced a completely blissful night’s sleep.
We have just a short drive ahead of us today to our next destination, the coastal town of Swakopmund!