Meandering among the landscapes of the northern Namib-Naukluft National Park, the Welwitschia Drive is easily located from your accommodation in Windhoek or Swakopmund and takes about 4 hours to complete.
Once you have acquired the necessary permits, you can take the C28 from either city and turn off at the Khomas Hochland Road to reach the Park.
Follow the Beacons just after the entrance
- Before long you will reach the first beacon which demarcates a lichen field filled with many different kinds of these fragile plants, some over 100 years old.
- At Beacon 2 you can see specimens of the unique dollar bush and ink bush which can survive for years without rain.
- Next up at Beacon 3 is ‘Baaiweg’ – the site of ox-wagon tracks which carved a distinct trail through the lichen many decades ago.
- Beacon 4 offers the first sighting of the world-renowned moon landscapes, formed millions of years ago, and visible among the valleys of the Swakop River.
- At Beacon 5 you will pass the world’s most extensive lichen fields.
- The trial then continues to Beacon 6 where you can gaze upon even more incredible views of the moon landscapes.
- Beacon 7 reveals remnants of a World War 1 desert camp.
- Turn left at Beacon 8 to make your way to the dolerite dyke at Beacon 9 while admiring the ancient dolerite ridges on top of the surrounding hills.
- The dolerite dyke at Beacon 9 was created by molten lava oozing through cracks in the granite surface many thousands of years ago, and then cooling, leaving dark ridges of hard rock.
- Beacon 10 indicates the lush oasis of the Swakop River Valley where you can picnic among the camelthorn, anaboom and tamarisk trees and enjoy seeing unique parasitic plants and thriving birdlife.
- At last the trail leads to the unique habitat of the Welwitschia Mirabilis, Earth’s most fascinating and longest-lived plant, dotted among the barren expanses of gravel and sand at Beacon 11.
- Reaching the turning point at Beacon 12, you will come across ‘The Big Welwitschia’ which is estimated to be 1500 years old and still growing strong.
Make your way back along the track straight past Beacon 8 and on to the final point of interest at the Von Stryk Mine, where you can view the relics of prospecting which took place here during the 1900s.
Take a day trip back in time on the Welwitschia Trail on your next visit to Windhoek.