Hiking & Rock Pools at Naukluft
There are three reasons all travelers should visit the NWR Naukluft Camp in the Namib-Naukluft National Park in Southern Namibia. Well, there is more, but this blog will focus on my favorite three. The first is the 17km Waterkloof hiking trail, the second is the secret rock pools and the final is the opportunity to see the Hartmans Mountain Zebra up close and personal.
The Naukluft camp is situated about 250km’s south-west of the capital Windhoek and accessible via the B1 and C24. The drive is easy, scenic and was done with my trusted VW Polo Vivo, as I always do. The only section of road that requires caution and a reduction in speed is from the gate to the actual camp.
The reception building is small, but staff are friendly and there is a welcoming bar serving ice cold Namibian beer all day long. The road from there winds down to several chalets or the camp site depending on where you opted to stay. The most notable aspect of the camp is the rocky mountainous terrain and a stream like river that run through it. Who would have imagined finding a running stream so far south…
The Waterkloof hiking trail, my premier reason for coming all this way, starts at the chalets. It is clearly marked and the sign can’t be missed. From here the trail winds through the Namib Naukluft terrain, initially following the river before turning away and up and over the mountains.
There are several points of interest along the way with the highlight being the view from the highest point of the trail, about 1910m. From here you can see all the way to where the mountains meet the Namib desert and its spectacular. Once over the mountains the trail descends, quite steep at some points, and rejoins the river before entering at the campsite section. The trail is not an easy one and take lots of water. The Namibian sun takes no prisoners. It should take about 6-7 hours but most people take longer so start early in the morning.
My second reason for visiting was the promise of finding the secret rock pools within walking distance of the camp. After a bit of exploring I eventually found them. I turned back about a 1/2km before reaching them on the previous day. Just follow the route and you will find them, initially by sight and navigate a route from there. They are amazing with icy cold and crystal-clear water. So, pack a bag with goodies, take an umbrella and spend a day lavishing next to the best rock pools in Namibia, but don’t tell anybody about this 🙂
The final reason for visiting was the opportunity to spot the elusive Hartmans Mountain Zebra and spot them I did. I guess the easiest way to find them would be on the hiking trail as I did, but possibly also on the road that leads to the camp. Remember that these guys prefer the slopes of the rocky mountains and that is where you should be looking. The small group I came across was fairly tame and inquisitive before finally losing interest in me and moving along.
All in all, a worthwhile experience. The camp was recently renovated so things look good and are working. The bar is well stocked, the restaurant has less options. If you intend to camp bring your own supplies there is no shop. I would recommend this camp especially as a stopover towards or returning from Sossusvlei.