At the far southern end of the Kaokoveld lies a small cluster of mountains, rising from the flat gravel plains that make up the desert floor. These include Spitzkoppe, Klein Spitzkoppe and the Pondok Mountains. Of these the highest is Spitzkoppe which towers 600m above the surrounding plains: a demanding technical climb. Its resemblance to the famous Swiss mountain earned it the name of the Matterhorn of Africa while the extreme conditions found on its faces ensured that it remained unclimbed until 1946.
Spitzkoppe is reached on the D3716. Approaching from Henties Bay take the D1918 westwards for 103km, then turn left on to the D3716. Coming from Usakos, take the Henties Bay turn-off after 23km on the B2 and follow it for about 18km before taking a right turn on to the D3716. From Uis Mine, leave on the C36 to Omaruru, but turn right on to the D1930 after only 1km. From there it's about 75km to the right turn on to the D3716.
What to see and do
Currently there are no facilities here, though for the self-sufficient it's yet another spectacular place to camp, and its lower slopes provide some difficult scrambles. At the extreme eastern end of this group of hills is a verdant valley known as Bushman's Paradise, which you can reach with the help of a fixed steel cable. Sadly the rock paintings under the overhang have been vandalised (even here!) and little is left of them, but the valley is still worth a visit. If you have an hour to spare, then an alternative descent is to continue to follow the gully out of the valley – though this route is not an easy option.
Because of their height and proximity to the ocean, these mountains receive more fog and precipitation than most, much of which runs off their smooth granite sides to form small pools. These are ideal places to search for the shrimps and invertebrates, which have adapted to the environment's extremes by laying drought-resistant eggs.