On an overland tour you have to be prepared to wake up early (almost) every day on the road, and that’s totally fine since we wanted to spend as much time and see as much as we could while we were in another continent. Sleep can we do at home…
We left the desolated mountain camp close to the Fish River Canyon and headed to another place out in the desert.
A big weavers nest along the road
On the road this day we saw lots of animals, and we got to see our first giraffe (a bit unexpected in that area). After an 8 hour-long drive we arrived at Sossusvlei Desert Camp, another perfectly gorgeous place in the desert. The camp exists of several permanent tents only surrounded by the wilderness. At the camp they had a bar-area with a small pool and free Wi-Fi. We only relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the day, ate braai Chicken for dinner and had a good time.
Photo cred: our guide Dee
After dinner Jon and I went out with Pumi and Dee to look for animals in the dark while the others went back to their tents – don’t think they wanted to seek for more creepy crawlers than it already was in the camp. But we really wanted to and had asked Pumi about that earlier the same day.
We found a Barking Gecko, several Scorpions and a Spider (who actually isn’t a spider, but can’t remember what it really was).
The next day we left the camp at 06:50 (didn’t have to pack as we were staying there for another night), and arrived the Sesriem gate at 7 (that’s when they opens) to enter the Namib Naukluft National Park.
Entry fee was paid and we drove directly to the Dune 45, which we were intended to climb, and so we did! Dune 45 is approx. 85meters high (the dunes can vary in size from day to day, so it’s almost impossible to know exact how high it is.
The way up was a struggle – one step forward, two steps back, and already that early in the morning it started to get really hot. After pictures were taken (had to have a picture proof of us at the top) we started on the way down. I decided to take the easy way down, just “run” down the steep side of the dune while Jon walked down together with another in our group, the same way as we got up.
Dune 45 got its name because it lies 45 km past Sesriem on the road to Sossusvlei. In the same area you can find much larger dunes such as Big Daddy with its height of 325m
Photo cred: Marica van der Meer
Photo cred: Marica van der Meer
When we got back down the breakfast was ready: scrambled eggs, beans, fried potatoes and sausages with bread on the side.
They wanted to do it this way because it’s almost too hot in the middle of the day to climb, and that was fine with us – nothing is better than getting back to a pre-prepped breakfast.
Such a great way to start the day, and only the beginning of all the great places it was planned to see that day.
We kept on driving further, as far as we could get in our truck, 6-7 km from our destination. We had the options between walking in (6km) or to be driven. For the ride we had to pay 100 South African Rand to get both ways, and everyone in the group wanted to do so. We jumped into a 4×4 car that took us 6km deeper into the desert, and then we walked a few hundred meters through the dunes till we got to Deadvlei.
Deadvlei is a clay pan characterized by dark, dead camel thorn trees contrasted against the white pan floor. The pan was formed when the Tsauchab River flooded and the abundance of water allowed camel thorn trees to grow. However, the climate changed and the sand dunes encroached on the pan, blocking the river from reaching the area. The trees are estimated to be approximately 900 years old
And what a special place, so unique and beautiful, a truly picturesque place. We could have spent several hours walking around taking pictures, but we had to go back.
On the way back we stopped by Sossusvlei which is a salt and clay pan surrounded by high red dunes. While the pan has been shaped over time by the Tsauchab river, the actual flooding of the pan is a relatively rare event, and sometimes several years pass between one flood and the next one. We didn’t find this place that interesting (probably because it was all dried up).
We then switched back to the truck and drove back to the camp (had a stop on the way to buy ice-cream and something to drink).
Back at the camp we jumped right into the pool before a quick lunch.
A few hours later (after hours in the pool) we drove to Sesriem Canyon for a walk. Sesriem canyon is a hidden place not easy to spot, much smaller than the Fish River Canyon. It’s a natural canyon carved by the Tsauchab River in the local sedimentary rock, about a kilometer long and up to 30 meters deep.
Some of us took the “long” route, and when we got out of the canyon we had a long walk back to the truck where they others were waiting for us. We actually enjoyed the walk and had a great time.