We went to the crystal gallery in town which has the biggest quartz cluster crystal in the world (weighing over 14 tons and about 520 million years old) and other beautiful crystals. We browsed a few shops looking for gifts to take home and then went north to Henties Bay, about 70km from Swakopmund.
There is nothing between the towns except for places to fish. Henties Bay (and it seems everything on the way to it) is about fishing. We were set to find the seals at Cape Cross north of Henties and the dead sea which we weren’t exactly sure where it was. Henties was a bit of a let down in that it doesn’t seem to offer much if you are not into fishing and the tourist centre was closed already so we drove through town looking at a few colourful houses and then set off to the Cape Cross Seal Reserve. What a sight. There are seals where-ever you look. There is an estimate 300 000 cape fur seals that live there which is the largest colony of these seals in the world. I have seen big colonies of seals in Houtbay previously but nothing compares to this. It is however a stinky and noisy place where a mother seal can apparently recognise her pup through smell which seems surreal if you see the masses and catch a whiff of that stink.
North of Swakop is also the start of the Skeleton Coast which has many shipwrecks due to the thick fog by the coast. There is dense fog about 2/3rds of the year which is due to the cold sea current. We found more fishing spots which look deserted and reminds a bit of scary movies in isolated areas ut apparently this fills up over holidays. After searching for quite a while we found the “Dead Sea” which is an old tin mine that is now a swim hole from ground water that rose up. It is near the Fisherman’s Inn with very bad signage which can be easily missed. The water looks green due to all the minerals and apparently it has the same boyancy as the dead sea but as we were all alone out in the nothing (it is about 17km inland on a dead gravel road with not a living soul in sight) we decided not to brave it and only put our feet in the water. Along the main road there are lots of little stalls that sell salt crystals and they have an honesty policy with a bottle or old rusted tin out so that you can take a crystal and leave some money for some soul to return in the near future.
We arrived back in Swakop quite late and decided to have dinner at The Tug Restaurant which is built with pieces of a real tugboat. It is apparently one of the best seafood restaurants. We decided on meat dishes which was a big mistake and a horrible experience so the lesson learnt is that is a restaurant is known for seafood, don’t try anything else they offer. The cocktails were however amazing.