Just in time for the first anniversary of Damara Mopane Lodge work on two hiking trails was completed in early November.
The Mountain Top Route (4 km) requires some climbing, over a total altitude of 118 metres, to reach a hilltop in the vicinity of the lodge. For the scramble over sharp rocks you can borrow protective gloves from reception. This is a challenging tour and the reward for your mountaineering effort is the gorgeous view of the surrounding Damaraland scenery. The trail is lined by some interesting trees, including the large-leaved Sterculia, the Moringa and Maerula.
By contrast, the Valley Walking Trail is a leisurely 4-km-walk through diverse vegetation such as Mopane forest, grassy plains and thickets of Trumpet Thorn. There are many different birds to observe: Monteiro’s Hornbill, cardinal wood peckers, babblers, robins, Guinea fowl and weavers, to name but a few. Lively little sunbirds are particularly active in spring and summer. Ecologically speaking they are Africa’s counterpart to the Kolibri (hummingbird) in the Americas. Sunbirds are not quite as agile, however, and they cannot hover in midair for quite as long.
On both routes look out for lizards, geckos, chameleons and agamas taking a sunbath. With a little luck a warthog or Damara dik-dik may cross your way. Snakes are also part of the Damaraland fauna. Usually they give way before the hiker has even noticed them. If nevertheless you happen to have a surprise encounter with a snake – keep your distance and slowly retrace your steps.
Both routes are clearly marked. For the environment’s sake you are not allowed to leave the trail or remove any plants. After your hike the large pool of Damara Mopane Lodge beckons for a refreshing dip and a thirst quencher is ready at the bar.