Day 13 – 16/08/2017 Outjo to Henties Bay, Namibia
After another early rise, breakfast, settling the bill and swapping contacts with new friends we departed just as the sun was rising.
Sunrise in Outjo
We were delighted to spot other early risers including Steenbok x 12, Gemsbok x 50 and a few ‘Namibian bulldog’s’. One of the Gemsbok was on the road side of the fence and when he got spooked by us he flew over the fence with ease to get back to the heard.
A lovely herd of Gemsbok
We drove to Otjiwarongo then on to Kalfield where we made a pit stop. Next door to the small shop was a baker who was busy removing a fresh batch of bread from the oven. The aroma came wafting out and David couldn’t resist. He purchased a lovely fresh loaf of bread for our lunch for $2 AUD.
It is here we saw a sign which said ‘Dinosaur footprints’! We couldn’t believe our eyes and of course just had to go and explore. It seemed simple enough. Drove for about 10 kms down a dirt road before realising we have taken the wrong road. We stopped to ask a group of men who were working on the road for directions. They said we had to go back to town and there we would see the sign. However when we got back we found the sign but it still wasn’t clear which road to take. A lady who walked past us told us which route to take. It seems we took the left fork in the road instead of the right.
On the way the terrain starting changing with a few hills appearing in the distance and more bushes and trees. The gravel road wasn’t too bad.
We stopped near here for lunch and ate the lovely fresh bread with cheese and biltong
I was very excited to see my very first dinosaur footprints. We found the sign and turn off to the Otjihaenamaparero Farm. Here lie the 200 million-year-old ceratosaurus and syntarsus tracks fossilized in the sandstone near Mt. Etjo.
We stopped just outside a gate in front of the farmhouse where we were met by a man who gave us directions and took payment.
Bridge on the way to the dinosaur footprints
We walked through another large gate on the edge of the parking lot, down a pathway past a tree full of weavers nests. Then we walked over a small bridge and down towards a small campsite. There were a couple of signboards here about the dinosaur tracks and one family camping there. We walked through a small gully and up a rock face following some very faded signs. It wasn’t always clear which way to go but we had been told they were about 300 meters from the camp.
A lovely weaver birds nest
Spotted this little fellow just under the tree near the nests
The landscape outlook on top of the rocky outcrop
We finally saw a small sign at the top of the rocky outcrop which said ‘Footsteps’.
The footprints which are three toed were quite clear. It was evident that someone at some point must have tried to cut the best one out of the solid rock. Happily without success.
There are two sets of tracks. The first set are smaller syntarsus tracks that run for about 12 meters. The syntarsus was a 10 foot long pack hunter that ran upright like a large bald chicken in shape. The second set are of ceratosaurus, a 20-foot-long hunter with a large nose-horn on its skull.
I sat down and placed my hand into the syntarsus three toed footprint to see the scale and placed my foot next to one. How incredible to see these footprints embedded in stone. A message from the past.
We were advised to take the route from Kalkfiled past the Spitszkoppe. Drove through Omaruru, Karibib, Usakos and turned right towards Spitzkoppe which means ‘pointed dome’ in German. These are a group of bald granite peaks located between Usakos and Swakopmund.
There are many examples of bushman artworks here and the mountains were the film location for 2001: A Space Odyssey and the “Dawn of Man” sequences. Spitzkoppen is spectacular.
A few villages popped up shortly after turning back onto the main road. Some of these villages had small vending stands with a large variety of semi-precious stones displayed for sale. We stopped to have a look before continuing on our journey.
Awesome scenery with progressive landscape unfolded on route towards the west coast. The Kalahari is spectacular with more sand than you could imagine, revealing a unique atmosphere. It feels like you have landed on another planet. In the middle of the desert landscape trotting across the sand in perfect camouflage was a Ruppell’s bustard which looks like a bush turkey.
The endless sand rolled right up to the ocean where we finally came to the turnoff south to Henties Bay.
‘Lady Jane’ decided we needed to take the scenic route once we arrived in Henties Bay. This time I was really worried as we were in the heart of a shanty town. Fortunately the GPS eventually figured out the correct route and we arrived in time at the guest house. An absolutely delightful place run by a lovely couple, Usher and Thomas.
We unpacked and went to have an early meal at a place called ‘Something Fishy’. Great little place with amazing food. After a long day on the road sleep came swiftly.