An Ode

Down the deserted road into the wind coming from the sea.

It bore not the smell of home but of damp.

He ran, maybe a boy into the unknown. Shedding layer of dust.

Returning with faith and not a claim to land, he chose his path.

Along the coast, heading south parting seas of waves and sand. Waking to eat corned beef.

Finally arriving where Jona delivered, rewarded with a badge, token, or toga.

Later he would travel as far south as the parting of the seas would allow.

Returning to his land of birth.

Nothing changes here in a hundred years we are told.

Shown the photos.

He returned a man telling stories of how things were.

OTB Sport Pupkewitz Jetty Mile Swim Swakopmund

jetty mileBefore our trip to Namibia I researched things to do and this swim popped up on the radar. Perfect: Transport our wetsuits for over 3000km to swim a mile. Just the right kind of madness.

M managed to do some research on the ground which ended in a coffee stop at Bojo’s owned by Bobby Jo Bassingthwaighte. Bobby Jo is the first Namibian women to swim the channel (to date the only one). We got some info about the swim but also about swimming in general.

Off we went for a recce in the Mole. Lucky to see 4 huge dolphins with us in the water.

Race Day arrived and sea conditions were looking MUCH bigger than the previous few days. We headed to Tiger Reef for the start and made sure to park in the non-4X4 area (read no deep sand). It seemed like Hawaii Shirts and cocktails are a must here.

A quick briefing by the OTB staff and we dived into the surf. We took a sighting off the Jetty. Round this and the swell felt big and when looking at the Mole we saw huge waves. The water was soft though so in retrospect there was not much to worry about. We rounded the Mole and headed to shore against the rip current. Thankfully it was not too strong.

A really pleasant event, well organised. I can only recommend it. Safety was good with lifesavers on SUP and a rubber duck in the water.

Oh the swim is slightly further than a mile. Just over 2km by my ambit. But with the push we got along the coast it felt like a mile

Two Spitzkoppe Scrambles:

Gross Spitzkoppe left and the Pontoks (1 - 4) to the right

Gross Spitzkoppe left and the Pontoks (1 – 4) to the right. (the gully between Pontok 2 and 3 is just to the left of where the road dissapears)

The Matterhorn of the Desert stands proud of the flat plain below, Visible for many kilometres in any direction. The best way to take in the surroundings is to get some altitude. The Rock climbs are fairly well documented over the years. See several links at the bottom of this post.

However if you are not carrying all the gear to scale these more serious objectives then there are still some pretty cool adventures to be had.

Spitzkoppe is a granite peak with many large boulders strewn about. Camping is very basic. Long drop toilets are available, showers can be had at the gate entrance, you need to provide everything else. The best is to buy all supplies in Windhoek (including all water – 5l per person per day should be a minimum). Security is not a huge problem but you are advised to keep valuables locked in your car. There are many camping sites dotted about and you have the choice of many different vistas and getting away from it all.

To access the Spitzkoppe take the B2 from Windhoek to Swakopmund. 23km past Usakos you will see signs to Spitzkoppe and Henties Bay. Follow these until you land on the D3716 and drive through the Spitzkoppe Village. Shortly after the shacks finish (with roadside stall selling stones from the area) you will see the main gate on the left. Day and overnight entrance fees are payable here. Cabins are also available.

Spitzkoppe Overview showing the Swakop scramble in blue, Pontok 3 in multi colour and the A indicates the gate to the reserve

Spitzkoppe Overview showing the Swakop scramble in blue, Pontok 3 in multi colour and the A indicates the gate to the reserve

Swakop:

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at the rock pools look at the Gross Spitzkoppe

The easiest scramble ascends the dome between campsite 1 and The Bridge (a natural rock arch best viewed at sunset). This is south of the gap between the gap between the Pontoks and Gross Spitzkoppe. Park at Campsite 2 and ascend the gentle ramp to the left. This curves up and after a couple of minutes you will pass rock pools (these will obviously only have water after heavy rains) There is a nice shady spot here. Continue up to the left, curving to the right where it steepens slightly. You will find a rock step here with one tricky move. The rest is an easy slop to the top with great views.

pontok 3 close up

Pontok 3 scramble from Movescount

Pontok 3:

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the obvious gully gives access to the nek between Pontok 2 and 3

Park at Campsite 17 and walk up one of the rounded ribs of granite towards the gap between Pontok 2 and 3. You will find cairns here. Soon these will split into a higher and lower ascent. The lower crosses some exposed slabs but follows a more obvious line. The higher winds through some bushes and is probably more direct and possibly quicker. Both options take you to the gully between Pontok 2 and 3. Once here you find a fairly well defined path which goes steeply up. Once at the neck you will find the obvious dyke line to follow. It might feel exposed in places but is not too bad. There is a short step up to be negotiated but otherwise the rest of the route is no problem and can be done quite easily without a rope.

The round trip car back to the car should take between 2 to 3 hours depending.

In theory the Nek can also be accessed from the north but this involves a rather long walk around the base.

IMG_2068There are many other scrambles that can be done here including getting to the top of the South West Wall via the left hand gully but I will save that for my next visit. The Standard Route on the main peak is a must do for any climber irrespective of grade. It is a brilliant feat of route finding and sheer determination.

Check Alard’s Bigwall Page here.

Climb.co.za here.