Touring Henties Bay

Another misty morning as we leave Swakop and head off along the Skeleton Coast. Our journey today takes us north to Henties Bay, then inland via a small community called Uis, to our final destination of Mopane Lodge.

Half an hour up the coast from Swakopmund, we stop to see a ship wreck. The story goes that this old ship was sold for scrap without engines and being towed at night, when the chain snapped. The ship then hit a sand bank and has been stuck there ever since. It makes for a dramatic photo.

A planned quick stop in Henties Bay turned into a short tour of the town as our driver Ismael missed our preferred “new” garage, thinking we wanted our previous comfort choice. Instead of turning around, Ismael used his sense-of-direction and drove around the nearby housing estate to return to garage number one. It took a little while but we got there eventually.

From Henties Bay we turned inland, across the desert, with the Spitskoppe mountain to our right, and the Bramsberg mountain range to our left. When we stopped to enjoy the view, the wind nearly blew us away. The small town of Uis is our regular stop for lunch. No longer a mining town, this is a poor community with little work for its inhabitants. We stop at a building that has some tourist information, toilets and a small refreshment kiosk. We’re consuming our own lunch picnics, but everyone is kind enough to buy a drink from the lady running the kiosk, and we hand out a selection of fruit and food to a number of locals.

After lunch, we head further into the Daramaland region, making a brief stop at a Herrero village, where the ladies make attractive little dolls in typical Herrero dresses, and some purses and bags. It’s nice to see our souvenir monies going directly to a worthy community. We’ve brought along some apples and pears too, and hand these to the young children – a healthier option than sweets and biscuits! Just as we get back into our bus, a cart pulled by three donkeys turns up. We’ve seen these trundling along the dusty roads from time to time, and our guide, Uanee, calls them Kalahari Ferraris! It looks fun, so Richard chats to the owner/driver, and he’s happy for Richard to have a go. In no time at all, Richard is holding the reins and speeding pass the bus up the hill! Out of sight, Richard manages to turn the contraption around and speeds back, stopping just before running his guests over. Apparently, in the meantime, Dawn has suggested the bus should leave without him.

Our destination today is the Damara Mopane Lodge. We settle into individual cottages, each with its own walled garden, most sowed with vegetables which are harvested to use in our meals at the lodge. What a wonderful idea!

For sunset, Richard and Dawn invite everyone to the lodge’s lookout platform which is located half-way up the hillside. Drinks all-round while we watch the sun coming down and the beautiful colours across the sky. By the way, the stars tonight are fantastic! Keen photographers are out taking wonderful shots of the Milky Way!