Straddling the eastern boundary of the Dorob National Park lies the mesmerizing Messum Crater, the centre of a collapsed volcano that erupted some 132 to 135 million years ago, and the probable source of much of the basalt that forms the neighbouring Goboboseb Mountains, to the north. The shallow flat caldera, around 20km in diameter, is surrounded by two non-continuous concentric rings of heavily eroded igneous rocks, forming a surreal, eerie wilderness worthy of a science fiction film. The routes to and from the crater also provide opportunities to explore other fascinating natural and human phenomena: lichen fields and welwitschias lie along the well-graded gravel track from the Skeleton Coast side; archeological remains, such as stone circles used by ancient nomadic Damara groups, are also visible; and taking the northeastern exit out of the crater, the vast massif of the Brandberg looms as you draw closer, glowing pink and gold when bathed in afternoon sunlight.

Make sure you’re well prepared for the drive here. In addition to the satellite map you can purchase from Henties Bay tourist office, a GPS is advisable (and a satellite phone if you’re travelling alone and not up to basic breakdown repairs), since it’s easy to get lost.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Namibia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
Namibia from above: the world's most extreme landscape

Namibia from above: the world's most extreme landscape

The Namib desert is one of the world’s most extreme environments. Covering 81,000 square kilometres, its vastness can only truly be appreciated from above. He…

17 Jul 2017 • Lottie Gross local_activity Special feature
In pictures: the otherworldly landscapes of Namibia

In pictures: the otherworldly landscapes of Namibia

From the spectacular dunes of the Namib Desert to the serpentine chasm of the Fish River Canyon, the rugged mountains of the Great Escarpment to the acacia-stud…

05 Jul 2017 • Sara Humphreys camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook