bradshaw foundation travel trips adventure holidays
Forthcoming Expeditions: Upper Brandberg, Namibia
bradshaw foundation travel trips adventure holidays
Itinerary Upper Brandberg, Namibia 8 -18 June 2012
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Day 1. (8th June) Windhoek - Uis (spend the night at Uis in the Brandberg Restcamp)
Meeting up at Windhoek airport in the Morning for those of you arriving with the Air Namibia flight from Frankfurt. We will be there with Magdi the night before, staying at the very pleasant Etango Ranch right next to the airport. There is a good breakfast at the farm, plus an opportunity for a shower after the long flight. We will need to purchase some supplies for the trek at one of the principal Malls, then we can depart for Uis, which is at a distance of 326 kms on the most direct route (about four hours). With a late morning departure, we should be there by late afternoon, allowing for a lunch stop at Okahandja. We will spend the night at the Brandberg rest camp in Uis. Our pilot will also spend the night there, so we may discuss the plans for the next day in detail. We will also meet Angula Shipahu, one of the principal helpers of Harald Pager, who together with his son Thomas will act as our guides on the mountain. For those of you coming up from South Africa, you have the option to fly to Windhoek, or drive yourselves to Uis, whichever suits you better. In case you drive, please plan to be in Uis by around 4pm on the 8th June.
Day 2. (9th June) Uis - Base Camp 1. (Western Amis gorge)
We would meet with the helicopter around 8am near where the western road crosses the Hungorob river, allowing the closest access to the upper Amis. On the ferry flight to the rendezvous point I plan to drop the food and water caches for camps #3 and #4 before the helicopter proceeds to the meeting point. The exact location of the Western Amis base camp will depend on where the helicopter can land on the steep and rocky terrain. There are a couple of small gravel terraces visible on Google Earth that appear to be suitable for landing, but our pilot will only be able to decide on the spot if the clearances and wind conditions permit a safe landing. As a fallback option, there is a large open area about 1 km to the NE on the Amis - Numas saddle where we can definitely land. The plan for the next two days will be to systematically go through the Western Amis sites (A28-A63). They all lie roughly on the 1700-1800 metre contour within a stretch of about two kilometres. Ideally we will camp among the eastern group, which we may visit on the first day, leaving the farther ones for the following complete day.
Day 3. (10th June) Base Camp 1. (Western Amis gorge)
From our base we will continue visiting the Western Amis sites. Their quality varies, some are large and interesting, some are relatively minor. However their setting is exceptional, perched along the side of a south facing ridge above the Dom peak, overlooking the Namib desert below. The location of our camp will also permit for those who have no been there a visit to perhaps the most beautiful site on the Brandberg, A6 (Lufthohle). It will be around 1-1.5 hours from our camp, clearly visible on the edge of a huge granite plate in Eastern Amis.
Day 4. (11th June) Trek to Base Camp 2. (middle Numas gorge)
At daybreak we will set out towards our second base in the flat area above the lower Numas cascades. We will proceed to the Amis-Numas saddle, descend about 200 metres into the Numas gorge to where there is a concentration of sites centered on the important N10 near a series of pools called Dreilochwasser. We will continue up the Numas past the cascades to our campsite (where a cache of food and water will have been dropped with the Helicopter), taking the opportunity to visit some other sites along the way.
Day 5. (12th June) Sites N145 and N52, above Base Camp 2. (middle Numas gorge)
This day will be solely for the purpose of visiting two principal sites, N145 quite far up the southern slopes of Numasfels, a "sanctuary" site without any convenient living areas. The key scene features a large antelope with human hind legs, and a group of highly decorated men and women. Descending in a clockwise arc we will go to site N52, another principal site at some elevation above on the western side of the valley upstream from our camp. This site was discovered by Angula while with Pager on the mountain, one of his finest finds. From N52 it will be a relatively short walk to back to camp.
Day 6. (13th June) Trek to Base Camp 3. (Upper Hungorob gorge)
In the morning we will cross the formidable looking, but in reality quite tame ridge to the East of the Numas into a broad oval valley in the upper Hungorob called the Hungorob Mulde. Right after the ridge we will see a concentration of sites, including H95 with a scene of a man chased by a leopard, and H96 with a beautiful flock of cranes (?), sites we missed in 2010. We'll continue to the central part of the Hungorob Mulde where there are a number of lesser and more important sites scattered about, which we may visit during the rest of the morning. In the afternoon we will ascend towards the east to an open area about 250 metres above the Mulde, at the south-eastern base of the Aigub peak. There are a number of scattered sites along the way, some of which will be worth a visit. We will spend two nights at this camp, used as a base for the Aigub trek. A supply drop will be made here with the helicopter. The horizontal distance to be covered between camps 2.
Day 7. (14th June) Trek to N3 & Aigub peak, return to Base Camp 3. (Upper Hungorob gorge)
The plan of the day is to make a day trek to Aigub peak. There are a few lesser sites there, but our main oblective will be site N3 (it is across the watershed on the Numas side) just under the peak of Aigub, at 2501m the third highest summit of the Brandberg. It is a fascinating site, most well known for the "Chameleons", but there are a multitude of other paintings too. Time and remaining strength permitting, we may wish to tackle the remaining 30 metres or so till the peak for the view, before starting back to our base. On the way down, one site not to miss is H60, with a beautiful panel of giraffes. The peak is only 300 metres above our camp, the exact route to be taken will be discussed with Angula. Possibly to see sites both on the eastern and western slopes, we will take one way up, another way down.
Day 8. (15th June) Trek to Camp 4. (Waterfall plain)
From Camp 3. is positioned a mere kilometre away from one of the principal sites of the Upper Brandberg, H43 (Snake Rock), an easy downhill trek losing about 100 metres to the site. H43 is best viewed in the morning, after which we will continue another kilometre to Waterfall Plain, where a dump will be placed with the Helicopter. We will have a leisurely afternoon to visit the more important of the scattered sites around the plain, plus the principal H28 (Waterfall Shelter) just below the edge of the plain.
Day 9. (16th June) Descent to Camp 5. in Upper Gaaseb Gorge
Our descent will be via the Gaaseb, but unlike the one day dash in 2010, this time two days are planned to be able to visit the principal sites along the Gorge. In the morning we will descend from Waterfall Plain via the Helm pools to the upper Gaaseb, but rather than making our way down on the regular path, we will cross the difficult slopes below the cliffs of the Orabes Kopf to the eastern end of the valley. Our aim will be the ridge separating Gaaseb and Eros gorges, the location of the magnificent G12 (and adjacent G13) sites, visiting some of the lesser sites as we make it across the valley. All things going well, we should be there by midday, allowing the entire afternoon to enjoy the sites and the amazing view from that locality. We will spend the night at the small terrace forming site G12. I hope to be able to drop at least a couple of 5l bottles of water there with the helicopter (will depend on the winds, it looks like a very tricky spot, probaly we will not be able to land just drop a few bottles in close ground hover). However all our other supplies will be carried from the Camp 4. cache.
Day 10. (17th June) Descent in the Gaaseb Gorge
We will descend along the eastern side of Gaaseb to the main concentration of sites G1-G7, some of which are quite spectacular and are among the principal sites on the mountain (G1 & G7). However the main highlight will be G8, situated some 100 metres above the cluster of sites at the bottom of the valley, accessible only via a difficult route over the steep granite plates. We will leave our packs in the valley to make the climb. Note: if you have a fear of height, and are not entirely comfortable and sure footed on steeply sloping granite, this is not the site to climb up to. While it is beautiful, the access is dangerous, there is nothing stopping anyone slipping on the rocks till the valley bottom 100 metres below. In any case, we will make an assessment of the route on the spot and everyone will be free to decide on their own. The remaining couple of hours will be pure descent without any further stops, aiming to be down at the car pickup point by late afternoon, at least an hour or two before sunset.
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