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The Spreetshoogte Pass — Namibia

As we drove over the last hills, it suddenly became abundantly clear that this was going to be very otherwordly… something I’d never experienced before.

Geology
One of the main features of the Spreetshoogte pass

We decided to go through the pass as we made our way to Sossusvlei. It would make for an interesting pit stop because we’d been driving since 7 a.m. from Okonjima in the Omboroko Mountains.
Spreetshoogte Pass… That’s quite a mouth full if you don’t speak Afrikaans (mine’s really rusty), but it’s a mountain pass around halfway between Windhoek and Sesriem, which connects the Namib Desert with the Khomas Highland.

When driving from Windhoek, the highlands are pretty much the same. A very long gravel road with farms on both sides, and absolutely nothing but the occasional hill, trees and the lonely oryx.

As we passed the last junction in Nauchas onto the D1275 towards Solitaire, my guide announced the upcoming view, and as we drove over the last hills, it suddenly became abundantly clear that this was going to be very otherwordly… something I’d never experienced before.

Panoramic View
View from the top of the mountain with the Namib Desert in the Background

The road cuts through a huge escarpment, and apparently, it’s considered the steepest road in Namibia with an inclination of 22% and 1Km in elevation. However, the actual pass is around 4Km, full of really tight and steep curves, and it’s only fit for 4x4s with no trailers. Caravans and other heavies are definitely huge no’s and when you see the actual road it becomes evident why attempting to go down with a heavy vehicle could actually get you killed. It’s so steep the road maintenance services don’t attempt to go down, only up.

The view from the top is really something worth stopping for. The bright light reflecting from the dunes in the distance needs to be cut down with a Polarizer in order to fully capture the vastness of what can only be described as a neverending sea of sand and rocky mountains.

When you reach the bottom, the fascinating scenery is replaced by another geological wonder; layers and layers of strata that seem almost purposefully painted on the side of the mountains.

Geology
Volcanic activity pushes the land upward unevenly, causing fascinating geological strata.
Red and darker sections are caused by oxidation by high levels of iron.

It’s a really fascinating place to stop for the view. If you decide to go around, you’d be missing on quite a lot.

Road
The well-maintained gravel road leading to the pass

Panoramic View
House on top of the Spreetshoogte Pass

Travel through the Spreetshoogte Pass

Passing through the Spreetshoogte Pass on the D1275 towards Solitaire or Nauchas en route to Windhoek (depending on your direction) is place I recommend you stop for a visit, but only if you have the car to do so. Having gone through twice, I’d really play it safe here. 

It’s a really fascinating place to stop for the view. But if you do have the car and you decide to go around, you’d be missing quite a lot.

If you need more information on the place I’d be happy to give you any tips, and I recommend you go out with The Expedition Society to see this geological wonder of The Great Escarpment.