The Namib Desert


So just to give you an idea of how time was passing, I was making these notes on April 9, 2018, about 5 days into our safari. The word safari comes from the Arabic work safar, which means a journey or expedition, and now commonly refers to a trip to see wild animals.

We woke up early, as usual, at the lovely resort in the Namib desert, the old desert in the world. We boarded the truck and took off before daylight to get to the area of the impressive dunes, specifically so we could climb Dune 45 barefoot, before it got too hot.

I was a fun climb; it was more like two steps forward for one step sliding back down. We were on the top edge of the ridge and it felt a little scary too. Some others in our group were able to go further than me (it hurt my knees), but I got a wonderful view of orange sand dunes as far as the eye could see. In fact, we were only 50 km from the Atlantic Ocean, but you wouldn't know it from the very hot temperatures we were enduring.

After some epic photos, I slid partway down the dune on my backside then stood up and ran down the rest of the way. It was a silly, childlike experience.

We were then served a yummy breakfast alongside the truck, parked at the base of the dunes. There were fried eggs and french toast, coffee, tea, toast, cereal and spreads.

We were transferred to 4x4 vehicles for a fast and excitng ride to get to a place where we would hike to a clay pan - dried up lake or river where the river, in this case had been halted by the dunes and sent underground. That explains the few trees growing around in what otherwise looks like the driest place on Earth. Trees in Africa, and acacia trees in particular have very long taproots that reach down to these underground water supplies.

Back on the 4x4 vehicles, we went on a longer ride in the soft sand to see the Big Momma and Big Daddy dunes, which are both much higher than the ones we climbed.

We returned to Chuck and drove a short while to our lunch spot where there was a shop, proper toilets and a bar. Hello, ice cold Windhoek beer.

Rest stops with real toilets, ice crean, cold drinks and snacks were so incredibly rare that we always stopped at them. Also, since Namibia was once a colony of Germany, many places IN THE MIDDLE OF LITERALLY NOWHERE have delicious bakeries. Read more about Namibia here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namibia

And here could I rant a bit about the actual "middle of nowhere"? We would drive for hundreds of miles on unpaved bumpy roads. Very occasionally we would see small settlements of mud or tin houses. There wasn't a grocery store, power lines, a cell signal, a gutter, a sidewalk, a side road, or a fence for a couple days of driving. So when we did get to our hotel or a gas station/hotel/gift shop/bakery we had to ask the staff where they lived. Usually, they said they worked 20 days on and 14 days off, living at the resort and traveling home on their breaks. What a life.

So back to this particular day... We stopped to hike in a slot canyon, but I didn't write down the name of it. We rolled on for a fuel stop and ice cream, then back to our lovely resort for the second night of our stay.

Jen and I walked to the reception to look at the meercats, but found out they were actually ground squirrels. We visited the bar and dipped our feet into the pool and watched the sunset.

Dinner was fancy and served in the bar pavilion near our rooms. They brought a bartender up there so that was delightful. Dinner was veggie soup, mixed veggies, roast potatoes, lamb chops and sausages.

Jen and I took our turn and washed all the dishes.

Later we sat on our porch and looked at the incredible stars. I never had any idea that there were so many stars in the heavens. We saw a shooting star about every minute and could easily see satellites moving across the sky.


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© 2020 by Leigh Haubach, The Buzz on Travel

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