About 100km from Henties Bay on the D1918 to Usakos you will find the Grosse Spitzkoppe (also spelt Spitzkopje or Spitzkuppe) Nature Reserve, home to one of Namibia's most famous landmarks, The Spitzkoppe Mountains. The name Spitzkoppe, means sharp hills, and with its blue skies and contrasting red granite sculptures it lends itself to outstanding photographic opportunities, it is also known as the Matterhorn of Africa. The peaks stand out dramatically on the flat desolate landscape. The granite that forms the peaks is over 700 million years old and the highest of them rises 1784 meters above sea level which works out to 700 meters above the desert. One of the major attractions of the region are the rock paintings done by the Khoi San tribes that inhabited the area.
The Spitzkoppe is known to contain at least 37 rock art sites and test excavations at one of these revealed a well preserved archaeological sequence spanning the last 4000 years. These sites can only be visited with a guide due to their vulnerability and can be booked at the reception upon arrival. There are 3 walking routes available at Spitzkoppe, these include the Pontok Route which is a 4,5 hour walk and takes you to a lookout point on the top of Spitzkoppe. The Matterhorn Route is a 6-8 hour walk for the very fit, experienced climber, although no climbing gear is needed. The Bushman Circle Route is a 7 hour walk for the fairly fit and includes a chain climb up a steep area to the bushman's paradise and afterward a flat walking surface with sand and rock. All routes need to be done with a guide.
The Western face of the Spitzkoppe was first climbed in 1946 and has since then drawn rave reviews from climbers all around the world. The climb is considered a grade three climb. Bouldering opportunities are also abundant in the area.
Being out in the middle of a desert, with nothing but wide open spaces and crystal clear night skies. As the sun sets the colours create a truly amazing backdrop to the Spitzkoppe, but it's at night that this area truly brightens up, and visitors left in awe of the stars as they stretch from horizon to horizon, shimmering in the dry air, unaffected by light or air pollution. It is said that the best months for star gazing in the reserve are the dry winter months and this is primarily because there are no clouds and the crisp winter air makes for clear viewing. Some of the star constellations that can be seen in the Southern African night skies during the summer months include, the Great Square, Orion, and Leo. Some of the star constellations that can be seen during the winter months include, the Southern Cross and Scorpio. But it's not only stars, visitors can also see the planets of Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, but visitors are encouraged to bring their own star gazing equipment, while constellation maps available.
An entrance fee per person and per vehicle is payable at the reception where semi-precious stones are also available for purchase.