A long-standing favourite excursion from Swakopmund is along Welwitschia Drive, a marked interpretive route across the desert that starts a few kilometres from town, and can be done either as a 4WD self-drive (3–4hr) or a half-day tour. The route traverses gravel plains, where you can stop and peer at lichen fields and drought-resistant plants such as the dollar bush, with its waxy coin-shaped leaves that give it its name. Other highlights include the otherworldly “moonscape” – an area of undulating granite mounds that pushed through the Earth’s surface around 460 million years ago, and which have been eroded by the wind and the changing course of the Swakop River over time. Last, but not least, you will see welwitschias – including Namibia’s presumed largest and oldest specimen.

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