Brenda and Brent - Namibia, Botswana, South Africa

Torra Bay, the Atlantic Coast - Namibia

We left Twyfelfontein in the baking afternoon sun and headed for the cool winds off the Atlantic at Torra Bay.
The mountains got steeper, with the same worn appearance.

Mountains with small caps - the rock on the top of the mountain is harder than the rock below it. This small hard caps delay erosion of the mountain, creating this mushroom shape.

Will thought that this cap was metamorphic rock - something bubbled up from below and coated a part of the plain, forming the cap.

It is possible, but does not seem likely to me. I will have to get a book on the geology of Namibia and read this up.

It is pretty clear that some of the layers in this mountains are different from the rest - you can see the layering. Eons ago water flowed from the middle of Africa toward this coast with the rivers bringing along sediment that formed this area. I think these are all sedimentary layers of varying hardness.

Some time spent with a geology book will clear this up.

This is the Skeleton Coast Park gate. We are (well, Will is) getting our park permits and camping passes. We changed our route from the plan, going directly to the coast rather than staying inland down to Swakopmund. Will is handling the paperwork on this.
Here is another badly eroded mountain. The hard layers are visible under the broken rock from the eroded softer layers above.

If the hard layers bubbled up from below, they formed very flat layers and did it several times over the eons.

We are in a park, so don't get out of the vehicle. If we could, I am sure we all would have walked over to this maintain, scaled the lower bits to reach the various harder bits and sampled the rock to see how these mountains weathered.

This is the campground at Torra Bay. The building on the left is the campground office and store. The water is brought in by tanker truck for showers.

This is a great sports fishing area. The people camping here drive all the way across the southern continent - Johannesburg to here - for the fishing. They bring big freezers to freeze the fish and take them back home. Since there is no electricity here they all bring along small generators to run the freezers. The campground is very noisy until 10PM at night when all the generators have to be turned off.

This is a pretty typical setup - the tent trailer is pretty clever. I have not seen this outside of Namibia and South Africa.

That is the Atlantic beyond the trailer. There is a cold Antarctic current that runs up the west side of Africa that is responsible for the weather in Namibia. The wind off this cold ocean is pretty dry. The air feels damp right along the coast, but it almost never rains. The sun heats the air and it rises up and moves inland - not raining until it reaches 1,000 metres or more, far from the coast. Interesting that you can be in a place in which the air feels damp, but it almost never rains.

The little vegetation you find is almost always associated with a river from the interior. These rivers are dry almost all the time, then will flood down to the coast.

We drove up the coast a little way to a next river. We did not find any flowing water, just a small marsh with a few inches of water, grasses covering about an acre, maybe two acres.

This was a birding opportunity for us. With this the only fresh water for miles, what water birds there were were here. This amounted to a few ducks, a few waders.

Just back form the small depression that contained the last water were plants like this - appropriately called Stone plants. Growing out of absolutely dry soil, they were about 1" across. They show no green at all! How can they grow without photosynthesis?

Hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like they had just flowered. From some pictures I have found on the net, these plants may actually be fruiting - producing seed pods for some animal to eat! Even more amazing, these plants come in a variety of colours that match the colours of the pebbles in the area. No, they don't deliberately change their colour - the best colour matches survive and replicate while the poor colour matches get eaten by the Oryx that live in the area.

Amazing adaptation to extremely dry conditions.

In spite of the very dry air, we did get a bit of a sunset. You can see the Atlantic in the background. The clouds form over the land/ocean border and extend a little way inland.
All the fishermen here seemed to use this setup. They all have small pickups and put their fishing rods in holders on the front.

Looks a lot like an Oryx.

These people live to fish.

As we drove south from Torra, this was typical scenery looking east. The dunes are slightly away from the shore and run the full length of the route.
We are leaving the Skeleton Coast park. This is the southern gate.
South of the park there are several of these small vacation communities. No sign of people at this time of year.

The rocks in the foreground are the border of the dirt road. They sort of suggest you should not leave the road, but anyone who wanted to drive down to the coast would not be slowed much.

The Cape Cross Brown fur seal colony - hundreds (thousands) of fur seals, with young, hang out on the rocks. Strange smell, lots of noise. The big guys make lots of noise. The pups - the little black fellas - are about 6 weeks old.

Swakopmund - Namibia

Swakopmund is a good sized town right on the ocean, about halfway from north to south. It is a dry as anywhere else along this coast - a real desert even though the air is cool and wet most of the time.

This is The Tug, the best restaurant in town. It might be that after a week of camping and eating Will's cooking any restaurant would have been good. I think it is more than that though - good by Victoria standards at a pretty good price. A rare combination in our travels.

This is downtown Swakopmund - a very European style (smallish, rural town).

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