Charley's Desert Tour
The Welwitschia is just one of the many desert wonders that can be found just a few kilometres inland from Swakopmund. Charly’s Desert Tours, owned and operated by Gerald Kolb, offers one of the original desert tours, and still one of the best. A tour with Charly’s will range from plants, to stones, to animals, to politics, and even uranium mining, and you will still be back in plenty of time to get ready for dinner!
Gerald and his guides like to tell the story of how each living thing manages to survive in such a harsh environment, and how humans and animals have learned how to utilize the scarce resources of the Namib.
They love it out there in the desert, and their enthusiasm for their work is contagious. There is an astonishing amount to see and do in the thirty eight kilometers between town and the Welwitschias (the furthest point on the journey). It is impossible to cover everything on a three to four hour tour, but you will get a fair sampling of the plant life, geology and wildlife that make the Namib so special.
During the tour you will be given a brief background on the various geological features that make the moon valley a dream for geologists. The Namib is not only one of the oldest deserts in the world, is also one of the most unchanged. You can actually see the earth much as it was before continental drift.
You are likely to see ostrich, jackals, and possibly foxes, hares and the odd Kudu out their foraging for nourishment in the desert. A variety of succulent plants live in the Namib. The oils within the stalks are known for their benefits to the skin and their beautiful flowers provide splashes of colour throughout the landscape. There are various traditional uses that have found their way into modern life in the form of skin lotion, make up and even appetite suppressants. You will even get a taste of some of the edible seeds and plants.
Gerald has found that his guests appreciate a tour that is rich and informative, but not overly long. Tours last about three hours, which gives you plenty of time to get home and freshen up before going out for dinner. There you can discuss with your friends and loved ones the wonders you discovered in the desert that afternoon with Charley’s Desert Tours.
by John R Wheeling | Leisure Times Namibia