29-Jun-2003 -- Continued from 24S 16E.
After the Kuiseb Canyon on our way to Swakopmund via Walvis Bay, we crossed a very flat granite and gravel plain. We stopped at a granite outcrop known as Vogelfederberg. At this point we were about 6 km from the confluence at 23S 16E. We had never planned on attempting it, because it seemed suicidal to try and hike 6 km (12 km there and back) into the desert. To make matters worse it was now about noon and very hot.
Then I got the urge to experience the desert fully and decided to attempt the hike. After some hesitation Ferdi and Dirk and one of his sons decided to join me. We are all fairly fit and experienced hikers and expected to take less than two hours getting there and back. We took two litres of water and some emergency rations with us, while the women decided to proceed to Walvis Bay and get some fish and chips for lunch.
What an experience it turned out to be. As we hiked a granite outcrop resembling Ayers Rock in Australia slowly rose over the horizon, while Vogelfederberg slowly sunk lower on the horizon behind us. At the Confluence we found an old Anglo-American mining claim beacon about 100 m away - I guess it was supposed to be at the Confluence.
On the way back we started a slow jog. When I looked back at the other three jogging far behind me each on his own course in the mirage it looked as if they were running in water. It seemed that we could see forever in all directions, but as I jogged the bakkie failed to appear above the horizon and I started to fear that it had been stolen in the mean time. That would leave us stranded with 50 km to the nearest civilization. Eventually with about 3 km to go it slowly crept up over the horizon. In the end it took us about one hour and forty minutes.
At Walvis Bay we found the women and rest of the children on the beach having lunch. Afterwards we continued on to Swakopmund where we stayed for two days in order to go and see the Welwitschia mirabilis (a prehistoric plant with just two leaves that can become several hundred years old).
Continued at 22S 17E.