Brukkaros Crater Campsite
Brukkaros Crater is a place so lonely and desolate, even the campsite is extinct. But then again, this is Namibia. Who needs a campsite?
Brukkaros Crater is about five hour's drive south of Windhoek on the tarred B1 highway en route to the Fish River Canyon and Lüderitz. Rising 600m above the endless plains of the Kalahari you can't exactly miss it.
The Brukkaros Campsite is a community-run venture that may or may not be operating when you arrive but that distinction makes little difference as there are almost no facilities there anyway and the campground structures remain intact. It's perfectly legal to camp here regardless but you do need to take in your own water, firewood and supplies. Is this sounding remote enough for you yet?
The crater is a fascinating diversion. Formed about 80 million years ago in Namibia's adolescent years, it is more like a scar from an exploded boil than anything actively volcanic despite appearances. If you've got a 4WD you can drive and camp higher up the slopes and reduce the walking time to the top. Either way though, it's a strenuous, hot and ultimately rewarding hike. The view from the rim is humbling.
The slopes of Brukkaros crater are a jumble of oxide-red rocks, bizarre crystal formations and Nama-Karoo vegetation elbowing its way into the Kalahari grasslands with quiver trees and prehistoric succulents eking out a living between the cracks and fissures. A crumbling observatory station will draw you in like a moth to a candle, with almost the same level of disappointment but once that's out the way, turn around and observe the Earth curving away from you in all directions. Once you've got your breath back it's an amazing sight.
The campsite is near the tiny village of Berseba about 40km off the main road and each unit has a wind and sun shelter - quite important in this vast stretch of open land - and a barbecue. And that just about sums up the facilities.
Hike up the mountain and walk the rim or explore the caldera; birding
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Pension Gessert is a neat, well-run B&B in Keetmanshoop - a crossroads town linking South Africa with southern Namibia in a vast and empty realm that marks the transition from Kalahari grassland to the rocky succulence of the Nama-Karoo.
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