Backpacking at Spitzkoppe

Those of you familiar with Arches NP in Utah or Joshua Tree in SoCal will recognize familiar types of geologic formations at Spitzkoppe, which I explored this past weekend. Stunning beauty as the light changed throughout the day, and each feature seemed to take on a new appearance when I barely moved my vantage point. Later, I learned that Stanley Kubrick’s Dawn of Man sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey, was filmed here.

Moonrise shortly before sunrise.
Moonrise shortly before sunrise.
Gross Spitzkoppe at Sunrise.
Gross Spitzkoppe at sunrise: 700m (2,300′) above the desert floor, it is known as “The Matterhorn of Namibia.”
Sugarloaf Mountain at sunrise.
Sugarloaf Mountain at sunrise.
350m face of Sugarloaf.
310m (1,015′) sheer face of Sugarloaf.
The Rock Bridge complex at sunrise.
The Rock Bridge complex at sunrise.
Gross Spitzkoppe later in the morning.
Gross Spitzkoppe later in the morning.
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Record shot…
Sugarloaf Mountain.
Sugarloaf Mountain.

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Seeing these mounds from a distance, I noticed something moving at the top…
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It’s very hard to see from this distance, even zoomed in, but there are two people near the top of this structure!
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And here’s another mound with two more folk at the top, moving up from the left shoulder. 
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The Rock Bridge.
Gross Spitzkoppe through the Rock Bridge.
Gross Spitzkoppe through the Rock Bridge.
The Pontoks through the Rock Bridge.
The Pontoks through the Rock Bridge.
I found a hidden side canyon in which to camp.
Up a secret pathway, I found a small side canyon in which to camp…
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… which afforded me this view.
But clearly I'm not the only one who found the secret path...
I soon found that the path wasn’t so secret to all…
I hope these guys don't choose tonight to slip and fall!
I hoped these rocks wouldn’t choose that night to slip and fall…
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… because my campsite (including my own Quiver Tree) was just below!
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All Namibian sunsets are beautiful!

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A side note: A number of people have expressed unfamiliarity with Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the film, having first caught it for my 1oth birthday at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood during its opening week. Yes, it’s “old” – but still worth watching! I’m not alone – this from Wikipedia:

Today, 2001: A Space Odyssey is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made. In 1991, it was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. The critics’ polls in the 2002 and 2012 editions of Sight & Sound magazine ranked 2001: A Space Odyssey sixth in the top ten films of all time; it also tied for second place in the directors’ poll of the same magazine. In 2010, it was named the greatest film of all time by The Moving Arts Film Journal.

Author: Chris

Until recently, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia focused on Community Economic Development. Before that, I was a high-tech executive, small business owner, consultant and business broker.

7 thoughts on “Backpacking at Spitzkoppe”

  1. Awesome Chris! I look forward to similar adventures. I’ll have to get your advice on bringing camping gear or gathering it there (see my private email introduction). Did you use the Marmot PC discount program?

    Thanks for taking the time and effort to post. Love it!

    1. Yes, and not a problem. It’s a protected conservancy, like a state park, so the management knew I was out there. Also, even though it’s still off-season, there were about 20-30 other tourists I saw throughout the weekend. Didn’t ever feel at risk, though I’d also shared my itinerary with Peace Corps and two colleagues, who would’ve launched a rescue effort had I not emerged on schedule.

    1. Thanks, Cheryl! I hope you’re well! Yes, I’m having a lot of fun – can you help your dad follow my blog? He and your mom were key to my international career and I often think of them with fondness. Thanks!

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