A night camping in Spitzkoppe under thousands of stars
Spitzkoppe is a spectacular group of boulder granite peaks in Namibia’s Pondok Mountains. The granite is over 700 million years old, and the highest outcrop rises about 1,784 meters above sea level. The peaks stand out in the surrounding flat plains and here you can see examples of Bushmen artwork painted on the rocks. Bushmen are the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa where they lived for at least 20,000 years.
It’s often described as the “Matterhorn” of Namibia because of its shape, and the highest peak is about 700m above the desert floor below. Spitzkoppe is a beautiful natural feature that highlights Namibia’s diversity and uniqueness. The mountains are brilliantly coloured and rise abruptly out of the surrounding plains and are visible from great distances away. It is considered to be an ‘’island mountain’’. Sunsets are spectacular, the rocks change colour on a spectrum from gold to purple. Overnighting at Spitzkoppe is breathtaking because it is one of the country’s most exceptional stargazing locations.
The dry winter months are particularly good; this is because there are no clouds, and the crisp winter air makes for clear viewing. Some of the star constellations that can be seen in the Southern African night skies during the winter months are the Southern Cross, Scorpio, Orion, Leo and Great Square of Pegasus. Camping at Spitzkoppe, breathing the peace and tranquillity of this place with the peaks as a backdrop, is something unforgettable. The typical Spitzkoppe activity is hiking and rock climbing. There is a wide range of hiking trails which vary in length and duration, depending on how much time you have. All the routes need to be done with a guide that can be booked at the reception close to the gate upon arrival. There are also trails for experienced climbers.
The most accessible and practised trails by daily visitors (the same we did) are the small bushman paradise and bushman paradise.
Small bushman paradise
It is a cave with one of the finest collections of ancient rock art in Namibia, reachable in only a few minutes walk. Here, you can see some artworks painted centuries ago including a giraffe, hippos, rhinos and even human figures.
Main Bushman Paradise
The main Bushman Paradise cave is a bit more challenging to reach, there’s a chain handhold, and the ground is smooth and slippery, but climbing up is exciting. It takes you only 10 minutes to get to the top using first the chain and then walk on the flat path to reach the artworks.
Camping in Spitzkoppe
There are 31 campsites available with a dry toilet (no water), the bathrooms and the showers are only next to the reception near to the main gate. At the reception, you can also book a horse ride (N$350 x 1 hour), the guide for your hiking, and buy the wood for the BBQ (we purchased the meat in Swakopmund). Only 5 minutes drive from campsites, you’ll find the Boma bar and restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner (you have to book your meal in advance).
If you are looking for more comfortable accommodation, there is the Spitztkoppen Lodge that offers chalets and a swimming pool (it’s located inside the park and 15 minutes drive from the gate). They also arrange all the activities for visitors.
If you spend the night in Spitzkoppe, we suggest watching the sunset climbing the ‘’natural bridge‘’, a big rock arch close to the campsites.
Reservations (campsite, lodge and activities)
Our itinerary and activities: Leaving Swakopmund around 1.30 pm (at first we visited Walvis Bay and climbed up the Dune 7), we got to Spitzkoppe gate at 3.30 pm. We set the tent and prepared the stuff for the ”braai”, then we had a lovely walk towards the natural rock arch (pic above) to see the sunset (it doesn’t need a guide). The next day, around 8 am, we met the guide ( booked the day before at the entrance gate) to visit the small Bushman Paradise and climb up the main Bushman Paradise. It took us around 1 hour and half to complete the whole visit.