Swartkopmund
Photo; Jay Caboz
  • Namibia has much to offer for outdoor adventure, from sweeping red dunes to coastlines riddled with shipwrecks.
  • Take a "moon walk" in the Namib Deserts' own Moon Landscape valley.
  • There is a secret melody hidden in the ancient rocks of this inhospitable landscape.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

From the sweeping red dunes of Sossusvlei to the ragged Skeleton Coast riddled with shipwrecks, splendid Namibia has much to offer for outdoor adventure. But for all its splendour, when a local Namibian brags that they are going to take you to the moon, it is quite understandable that you would take it with a pinch of salt.

But that was the brag made by Carlien Venter, regional sales manager at Abenteuer Afrika Safari about the Moon Landscape, a massive canyon 35 kilometres outside the quaint town of Swakopmund.

"Welcome to the moon," she said as we jumped out of the 4x4 to explore.

The foreshadowing didn't disappoint.

Surrounding us was a barren terrain that looked as if it had come straight from the moon and that you would, at any moment, come across Neil Armstrong's footprints.

Swartkopmund
Photo; Jay Caboz


After exploring the valley, Venter guided us to a nearby ridge where we were unexpectedly treated with another surprise – an ancient secret hidden in the rocks themselves.

"I've got something else to show you. We call this spot Musical Rocks. I want you to try picking up a rock and banging it one of these rocks here," Venter said, pointing to boulders stacked on top of the ridge.

Hammering on these boulders brought out an echoing chorus of bell-like tones reminiscent of tools being forged in a smithy. While my rhythmic talents are, admittedly, somewhat lacking, it was quite captivating to hear these notes resonate across the valley.

These unique boulders consist of dolerite, formed almost 450 million years ago when hot, molten rock rose through the cracks in mountains around the time the supercontinent of Gondwana broke apart, forming Africa and South America.

Over time, harsh winds and the raging waters of the Swakop River cut through these mountains to leave spines of the much harder dolerite exposed on the ridges, like an elephant graveyard in this lunar valley. From the top of the ridge you can see the dolerite boulders stretch for miles in each direction.

The echoing orchestra created by our rhythmic tapping set against the golden Moon Landscape valley at sunset is a memory I will not forget soon.

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