Where to camp
Sites in the area have no facilities to speak of, but there is plenty of variety for you to choose from. To spend a night or two camping here – which is the only way do this part of the desert justice – you must be fully independent in terms of fuel, food, water and firewood. Bloedkoppie
(or Blutkopje) Literally 'blood hill', for its colour in the red light of sunset, this large, smooth granite inselberg rises out of the Tinkas Flats, near the Swakop River. It can provide some challenging scrambles if the heat has not drained your energies. Be careful not to approach any birds' nests, as some of the raptors in the park are very sensitive to disturbances. They may even abandon them if you go too close. Look out for the temporary pools after the rains, filled with life.Ganab
Immediately next to a dry watercourse, which winds like a thin green snake through the middle of a large gravel plain, this open site has a wind-powered water pump nearby. Around March, if the rains have been good, then it can be an excellent spot for herds of springbok and gemsbok – and you can see for miles.Groot Tinkas
Hidden away in a valley amidst a maze of small kopjes, there is a small dam with sheer walls of rock and some fairly challenging rough driving too. Look out for frogs in the pool, and turn over a few stones to find scorpions and their harmless mimics, pseudo-scorpions.Homeb
This excellent site is in the Kuiseb River valley where the perennial vegetation includes camelthorn (Acacia erioloba
), false ebony (Euclea pseudebenus
), wild tamarisk (Tamarix usneoides
), and several species of wild figs. The Kuiseb forms the northern boundary of the great southern dune-field, so observe the dunes on the south side of the river as they creep northwards. Soon you realise that it's only the periodic floods of the river which prevent the park to the north from being covered in shifting sands.
Homeb's well-placed location leaves you with the opportunity to cross the riverbed and climb amongst the dunes, as well as to explore the river valley itself. The proximity of three different environments is why Namibia's Desert Research Centre is located at Gobabeb, on the Kuiseb to the west of Homeb. Kriess-se-Rus
Again found in a dry riverbed, Kriess-se-Rus lies just below a bank of exposed schist – with the layers of rock clearly seen, providing an interesting contrast to the flat calcrete plains nearby. Around you'll find quivertrees (Aloe dichotoma
), many camelthorns, and some Euphorbia and Commiphora bushes.Kuiseb Bridge
Just off the main C14 route, west of the Gamsberg Pass, the river is said to have less underground water stored here than further down its course, though it is more prone to flash floods. This can be very bare during the dry season, but is really pleasant after the rains. Make it your lunchtime picnic stop if you are travelling between the Swakopmund and Sesriem areas (take your rubbish away with you).Mirabib
Yet another great grey inselberg, but one that is even quieter than the others. It has great views from the top. Around it, where any rainwater runs off, are small trees and bushes. There are always a few lizards to be found around here, and even the odd snake. Swakop River
Being also beacon number 10 on the Welwitschia Drive (see below) means that this beautiful dry riverbed can get rather busy at times with day-trippers from Swakopmund.Vogelfederberg
This rounded granite outcrop is the closest of the sites to the ocean, and as such it gets more moisture from the fog than the others. Its gentle shape helps form a number of fascinating temporary pools. Polaroid glasses will help you to see past the reflections and into these pools; if you've a pair, take them.