Contrast, colours and extremes at the Namib desert!

After a good night sleep we started at 6.30am to get to Sossusvlei. By the way one little tipp: Unless you are staying in a Lodge nearly in or at Sossuvlei park there is no point in trying to get there before sunrise! They only open the entrance at sunrise and let the cars slowly get into the park. So unless you are the first car in the line you will anyway not see the sun coming up behind the dunes. Much better to be there a little later as also you are then not driving in the dust of all the others cars in front or behind you trying to be first at the entrance. Any ou can take a picture like this:

Sossusvlei is situated in the largest conservation area in Africa – in the Namib-Naukluft National Park – and it is a very spectacular area in Namibia. Surrounded by large, impressive red dunes Sossusvlei is a white, salt and clay pan. The dunes in this area are some of the highest in the world, reaching almost 400 meters providing stunning views and wonderful colours the early morning and evening lights. We stopped at several dunes to take some amazing pictures and then walked up the Dune 45. It was hot, very hot and it´s quite steep uphill I must say and really hard to walk in the sand. I probably carried half of the dune in my shoes on the way back 🙂

After enjoying my brown bag lunch we then got taken through the sand dunes with an open Jeep to the starting point of the walking tour to Dead Vlei. The 15 minutes drive was really a challenge for the driver! and us …. it was a really bumpy ride! We got off at the stopp and walked to the salty spaces and Dead Vlei. It´s really impressive and we felt very little in comparison to the high dunes!
If you ever go there don´t forget water, water and water and sun cream and a sun hat! Its a very dry and hot area and the dust of the dunes it adding to that. We returned back and met our driver and he took us to the last “attraction” of the day: the Sesriem Canyon. It was almost 42 degree Celcius when we go there. So a short climpse of the Canyon and we had enough for the day. We probably got back to our accomodation by 3pm and we had some free time for the rest of the day which I used to chill out a bit and to enjoy the view from the terrace of my tent. I had a little swim in the amazing pool, some cool drinks and read my book. Dinner was then at 7pm again and some strong wind came up already …

I got to bed at around 10.30pm. However I could´nt fell asleep as the noise of the strong wind in the tent was so loud!! the Gecko family was also running around on the top of the tent. And the storm became stronger and stronger ….. the wind cam through the cracks of the wood panels! It finally got really cold and for a second I thought about what would happen if the tents would fly away or anything would happen with us in the middle of nowhere …. We all had a horn in te tent but if someone would hear that 8 km away in the middle of the night? I believe I haven´t slept at all! And was really happy when it was time to get up!

Everyone from the group looked very tired as nobody had slept! 🙂 Carla stated that she would need to sit next to the driver this morning as she didnt feel well. Rita organized our seating in the inner car. Every two days she said we would change our seats. And she and her husband Frederik would move now into the last row whilst the couple from the last row would move into the first row and I should jump from the right hand seat in the middle row to the left hand seat and Frank would take the right hand seat …..

After s very strong coffee and good breakfast we hit road again. Well – whatever you would call it …. 80km/h was the maximum on that street – nearly 400km to drive till Swakopmund, our destination of that day. First stop to get fuel was at Solitaire.

And we saw the first animals!! 🙂

We really enjoyed the view on the Namib Naukluft Park on our journey. Left and right we could see farm areas and lodges. However the street conditions aren´t great there. We passed lot´s of cars with a flat tire and saw also another group of people with an car accident when we drove through the Canyons.

Just a couple of minutes later I was thinking by myself whilst I was looking out of the window: Why on earth are there some black stones or grains flying around whilst everything is are white or grey stones??? …. Before that thought could really sink in I could smell it and our driver already stopped! We also had a flat tire. The one underneeth me ….

Well, …. guess what?! … All girls stayed in the car while all men got “active”! Our driver inspected the situation behind the wheel, Frederik tried to secure the road, Frank was the only experienced guy and knew how to change the wheel and took off his shirt and got his hands dirty and Kurt became a raging live reporter documenting the situation with his camera and keeping us informed about the progress … 🙂 And we as “Ladies” had fun and lot´s of laugher on silly things ….. !Big, big thanks to Frank!! After 30 minutes the tire was changed and we could continue our journey.

With a small detour via Walvis Bay watching the flamingos in the laguna and the so called “Moonscape” on the Welwitchia Scenic drive we made it to Swakopmund.

After a short refreshment I met again with Ann and Kurt and initially with Rita and Frederik to stroll through the city till dinner time. After half an hour running behind Rita and Frederik who obviously had a specific target and goal for the afternoon which we haven´t been aware off we decided to split and I continued with Ann and Kurt to look for some attraction in Swakopmund. With no real plan we walked through the streets, looked at shops and buildings, found some of the historic places in the city and ended at the beach. The more it got darker we felt more and more unsafe and we tried to walk faster back to the main streets. We remebered that we had walked past a brewery before and decided to treat ourselve with a beer. a great idea!! That place is really cosy and very welcoming! A good start for our dinner at the Altstadt Restaurant, a typical german food restaurant.

One last comment on Swakopmund a nice city with lot´s of germans however our driver paid a black young man to look after the safety of our car whilst we had dinner and later an drink at his Club. And we could´nt walk to our accommodation even though she was nearly around the corner and the accommodation was secured via a high roller door and a security guard ….

Our accomodation for that night was the Organic Square Guesthouse. A really nice place with friendly staff, great breakfast and very well located to explore the city.

So, that´s it for now! The travel diary will continue with some impressions from Damaraland, Twyfelfontain and the petrified forrest ….

See you soon, Ina T.

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