Skeleton Coast

Breakfast at the Hansa Hotel was perfect this morning. August, our coach driver, has our vehicle ready and, with luggage loaded, we head off towards the Skeleton Coast. Our journey today takes us north to Henties Bay, then inland via Uis, to our destination of Mopane Lodge. Half an hour up the coast we stop to see a ship wreck. The story goes that this old ship was sold for scrap and being towed north when the chain snapped in the darkness of night. The engine-less ship hit a sand bank and has been stuck ever since.

After a quick stop in Henties Bay we turned inland and across the desert, with the Spitskoppe mountain to our right, and the Bramsberg mountain range to our left. We stop to enjoy the view and the wind nearly blew us away. In the small community of Uis we stopped for lunch at a building originally used as a tourist information centre. A local lady runs a small refreshment kiosk and there was an office of the local conservancy group, and a couple of toilets. The kiosk did a roaring trade in teas, coffees and soft drinks, and her mother came along with some locally made souvenirs which also sold very well.

Shortly after Uis we made a brief stop at a Herrero community. The ladies here make small dolls in typical Herrero dress, and also some purses and bags. Quite a few clients make purchases, and it’s nice that our tourist monies are going direct into the community. We’ve brought along some apples too, and we hand these out to the children (a more healthy option than sweets!).

On arrival at Damara Mopane Lodge we are greeted promptly and settle into our individual cottages, each of which boasts a walled garden, most sowed with vegetables which are then used in our meals at the lodge. What a wonderful idea! For sunset, Richard and Dawn have invited everyone to the lookout platform which is located half-way up the hillside near the lodge. Drinks all round while we watch the sun coming down and the beautiful colours across the sky. At the waterhole we think we spot a couple of jackals.