Before leaving Sesriem we filled up at the petrol station, then pointed Google maps to Namib-Naukluft National Park for the Olive Trail hike… unfortunately, Google gave us bad directions and we had to turn around after about 5km because the road she wanted us to take didn’t exist! The corrected route took us past our next hotel, so we dropped off our luggage, noted our room number (#14) and told them we would be back in a few hours. Our host asked where we were planning to go and we mentioned the Olive Trail. “Isn’t that still closed?” was his response. Uh oh. Apparently a chain had broken about halfway into the 11km hike last month. He assured us there were other trails there and it was the only thing we had planned to do so we went anyway.
The drive to the park was beautiful and wound up being one of our favorite drives of the trip.
Arriving at the gate to the Namib-Naukluft National Park…
About 10km from the gate we saw that the Olive trail was indeed closed. Bummed, we drove the remaining 3km to the reception area and asked about other trails. The guy showed us a map for a different trail that left from the parking area – the Water Kloof Trail – so we decided to try it, and paid the reasonable 90N$ (~$6) fee for us and the car.
We spent about 2 hours (4.5km) on the trail which lead to a series of water cascades on the hillside. Along the way we saw several quiver trees, butterflies and flowers, and enjoyed the general smell of this area (similar to bay & lavender). As with Sossusvlei, we also had times of total silence punctuated by birds and frogs.
After two days in the sandy desert it was quite different to see the lush plant life clustered around this water source.
On our return we ate a quick lunch in the car (peanut butter and bread) and headed back to Moon Mountain. While it was a disappointment that the Olive Trail was closed, we very much enjoyed the Water Kloof trail and it’s worth a hike if you are already nearby.