Imagine a place so far away that you do not see another human being for days. Imagine a path in deserted valleys, on top of mountains and on large flat plains of sand, rocks and dry grass masses. The Naukluft Trail in Namibia takes you to such a place.
It all starts with an old house perched on a small hill in the famous Namib-Nauclft Park in southwestern Namibia. Hikers Haven is the main campground of this incredible route. Here you can enjoy the latest beer, grilled steak and hot shower. After 8 days of carrying a heavy backpack, there is some in the most beautiful and desolate areas of Namibia.
Normally a person should wake up around 5 in the morning to be able to walk for up to 7 hours. The first day is no exception to this rule and covers a distance of 14 km. There is a beautiful spectacular spot in the “panorama” because one of the climbers starts to climb a few kilometers after climbing. Spend some time here and enjoy the view of the plain below.
From here it continues steadily to the Naucloft Mountains. A good place for lunch is “Fontein Kloof”. There are large trees for shade and springs are usually flowing.
Like many night shelters along the way, the Putte Shelter for tonight is just a square stone structure with a 1.2-meter-high wall with a tin roof overlaid by some stealing pipes. The floor is pebble. Approximately 150 meters from the shelter is a borehole with a large carousel that must be rotated for water.
The second day is 15 km long and takes one to the famous Ubusis Kloof valley. The descent to the valley is done with the help of a number of chains, some of which are up to 30 meters long and act as helpers on the rock surfaces. As it descends, a geological capsule is placed in layers of rock on either side. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking.
Ubusis Cottage is the only “ordinary” residence on this route. The cottage was a small holiday home many years ago when the area still included farms. Water is supplied by air pump and borehole.
The third day brings out one of the Ubusis Kloof in the same way it came down the day before. At the top, when one reaches Bergpus, the route turns north across the Kudo Plains. This day is only 12 km long and is considered the simplest of all days.
At the end of the Kudo Plains is the Adlerhurst overnight shelter, which you can reach in the afternoon. This leaves a lot of time to admire the scenery and a little rest. Water is supplied again through the borehole with a handle at the top of the pipe.
When we got there, the mouth of the borehole was covered with hundreds of bees waiting anxiously for someone to turn the knob and pump some water for them. No one was bitten even once. They seem to have realized that the only people who come to this place are hoping to get water.
The fourth day is a bit difficult and it is quite long at 17 km. The complex part occurs when a person has to descend from a waterfall on a dry riverbed with the help of a long chain. The angle of the rocks makes this descent difficult.
Next, there is another steep slope on the mountain side of the loose boulder. In the past, this has hurt climbers on boulders.
The Tsams-Ost night shelter contains a large water tank on a tent, which is supplied by a borehole and an air pump. It is possible to place a cold shower under the tank.
The next day, the fifth day, begins with a steep climb to the mountain behind the Tsams-Ost night shelter and covers another 17 km.
A few hours later, one reaches the Malbus plain. The plain includes many kilometers of hiking along sandy paths and dried riverbeds. This is where you will most likely see antelope herds such as Alland or Kudo grazing on grass and sparse vegetation.
The night shelter Die Valle is surrounded on three sides by mountains, and the sun tends to set early behind these mountains. Here water is left in a small water tank that may not have much water, especially at the end of the hiking season, so washing on this day is very limited.
The sixth day is the longest and most difficult route. Although only 16 km long, it spends most of the day climbing.
Immediately after leaving the Di Valle refuge, there is a vertical climb of 200 meters to the top of the waterfall. One after the other, it follows a gorge and a stream that feeds from this waterfall most of the day and always climbs upwards.
Along this strait you will encounter some interesting geological formations called Tufa. Tufa is a sedimentary rock that contains a lot of carbonates that are deposited by water. It often forms in waterfalls or streams. Here in this gorge, Tufa looks like a solid giant waterfall. As you climb from the ground, you come across a huge fig tree with its roots along a small cliff.
Once at the top of the gorge, there is a small flat plateau that you must cross before embarking on a long descent along an old jeep route to Tufa Night Shelter. Be careful at the end of the path because the shelter is almost hidden among the bushes on the left. Water is supplied again in the form of a borehole next to the dried riverbed at a distance of 150 meters from the shelter.
The seventh day covers 14 km and takes one to the highest and usually coldest hiking spot in Kapokvlakte.
From the Tufa night shelter, the path passes through some very large boulders and moves again in the direction of the mountains. At the base of the mountains that eventually lead to Kapokvlakte, there are chains that help you find some of the more difficult cliffs.
Once at the summit, the route rises steadily from a dried-up creek bed to the top of the globe. This name is very appropriate, because you can see many kilometers from a distance. This is a good place to stop for a while and watch the scenery in the lower plains and mountains. From here the ground is relatively flat and easily accessible.
The Kapokvlakte night shelter is usually accessible in the early afternoon. The shelter is hidden behind a pile of bushes that are practically the only larger vegetation in the area. The rest of the plateau is covered with short grass and sometimes a small shrub. Kapokvlakte can be very cold at night and the use of a sleeping bag with low feathers is essential here.
The last day has finally arrived. Right now everyone is dreaming of fatty steaks and beer, but there is still 16 km of slug ahead. A few kilometers above the plateau, and makes its long descent along a winding gorge to the climbers.
As the day warms, you will hear more and more insects and other small creatures in this strait alone. Be careful when picking stones. Scorpions often hide under them.
Going down the path, there are small ponds with large trees on the sides that provide good resting places. A few hundred meters from Hikers Haven is the camp site. Here, after spending all these days in the desert, you may meet the first other humans again. Now you can also see the roof of the old house in Hikers Haven. Just a few hundred more and one came back. What a time it was!
Now you can finally take a hot shower again! For those who brought vacuum packed meat and managed to keep it cool in their car during this time, a party will be held tonight!