We had a weekend with a difference recently when we decided to hike up Gamsberg, a Namibian mountain with an elevation of 2347 m above sea level. This flat-topped mountain closely resembles Table Mountain in South Africa and it is famous (or infamous) for more than just the tortuous walk to the top.
The farm Weener, where we planned to camp overnight, is about 17 kms off the main gravel road (the C26) and getting there is an adventure in itself. Just before reaching the farm, the road passes through a narrow gap in the mountain and runs alongside a deep gorge. Going over the edge is not an option! We were given the campsite aptly named “Panorama” with stunning views over the hills and folds on the low-lying Namib desert in the west. What a magnificent campsite – highly recommended. The bird-life and walks on the farm are worth going back for in the future.
But this weekend was mainly about climbing the Gamsberg. We left early on Sunday morning and drove the 4×4 track through the farm Dradiwawal to the base of the mountain. It was a beautiful day and Gamsberg loomed above us in all its splendour.
The steep track was relentless from the word go. An hour and a half later, after gasping my way up numerous switchbacks, I joined (a much fitter) Rob at the top and we marvelled at the views of the Hakos Mountains in the north. Wow! The views alone were worth the effort.
There were some buildings at the top, probably part of the observatory established in 1970 by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy when this area was identified as a top site in the southern hemisphere for astronomical observations. The clear Namibian skies are exceptional for star-gazing and the desert conditions add to the suitability of the site. It would have been useful to have had a guide to enlighten us more on this.
We spent some time at the top, looking at the views and the plants and just getting our breath back for the descent. The walk down, although much quicker, was harsh on the knees, but we made it back safely, happy with our morning’s excursion and exertion. The beautiful unspoilt scenery and the privilege of having shared the mountain with no-one but its animal and feathered inhabitants was a rare treat.