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  • Day178

    Swakopmund Desert and Cape Cross

    March 11, 2020 in Namibia ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    This morning, we're off on a desert safari, to see the small creatures that roam the desert. It's a little strange, as the guides have to actually find the animals in the sand. We walk a little into the desert, and suddenly our guide pounces on a spot of sand and starts digging frantically. After some determined digging, she emerges with a small transparent gecko. It's an interesting animal- its skin so clear that you can see its organs, but it feels strange to be pulling it out of its home.

    Similarly, the guide finds a pregnant snake in a bush, and keeps dragging it out with a stick, even after the snake keeps trying to get back into the bush. We later see a Chameleon (without dragging it out of anywhere), which is super cool. We do leave with mixed feeling- it is nice to see these cool animals, but it does feel like we bothered them a bit too much.

    Onward, then, to Cape Cross, up the Skeleton Coast. Along the way, we visit a shipwreck. The idea of a shipwreck is very evocative, and brings to mind the golden age of sailing- big galleons forced onto land by huge waves. The crew stranded in the desert, slowly going insane and probably eating each other or something. This, however, was just an empty fishing boat that broke free of a tow line and washed up onshore. Still quite cool to look at.

    Cape Cross itself is an important historical spot. Here, the Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão planted a cross on the headland to claim this spot for Portugal. More interestingly, it is the home of THOUSANDS of Cape Fur Seals. The noise they make is unbelievable, and the smell even worse. We were told by the ranger at the reception that if there are any seals on the walkway, we shouldn't approach them. However, there are so many seals that we can't even reach the walkway.

    A French-Canadian family pulls in afterwards. Their toddler cannot handle the noise, and has her hands firmly clamped over her ears. But nothing will stop the parents from getting right up to the seals, trying to feed them Canadian dog food (Katie recognises the brand), which we guess must have been brought here for that exact purpose. We leave before we see if she gets bitten.

    Our campsite for the night is at the (quite posh) Cape Cross Lodge. We have a sundowner on the beachfront terrace, and watch a pod of dolphins swim past. It's all quite nice really.
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