Supper at Sossusvlei camp was Chilli con carne, carrot salad and coleslaw. I got Chilli non carne. Amazing what our guide was able to make on an open fire. She even made an apple crumble one evening. The focus was typically on local food so she cooked things like Kudu steak, Ostrich burgers and Springbok saussages. She also had a lot of German wurst type things.
The guy who was not well at the outset of the tour soon passed his bugs around and most of us had a turn to feel sick. Fortunately it was nothing serious or enduring and an early night or two did the trick.
At Sossusvlei camp, around 02.00am, an almighty storm passed over us. Our poor tent was tugged by the raging wind. Thunder and lightening cracked overhead. I did wonder if pitching our tent under a tree was such a good idea after all. My tent mate and I quickly closed the tent “windows”. Our rain protective “roof” blew off but we found it the next day.
We got up very early to do what is clearly a custom in this part of the world and that is watch the sunrise atop Dune 45. I have never climed a sand dune before. It’s like sea sand. As fast as you step, your feet slide backwards. It’s tiring. But most of us got to the top. Sadly there was no sunrise as it was a cloudy day. Dune 45 is 180 meters high.
|Rainfall 2001 in Namibia|
We joined the masses for breakfast as we came down from the dune. It’s a bit strange to be in a desert with sand as far as the eye can see and the smell of bacon and coffee in the air.
After brekka we took the obligatory Namibian tourism trucks and went to see Sossusvlei proper and Death Vlei. A vlei is a marsh. The moving dunes had blocked the water supply to Death Vlei which had completely dried up.
It was while waiting for the tourism truck to collect us again that we got sandblasted in a sandstorm. It felt like hours before they collected us. We stood huddled together with sand in our eyes, ears, nostrils and hair while exposed skin was being exfoliated. Like I said, not fun.
|Shop in Namibia|
You could see the sand blowing the dunes and get a sense as to how they would move.
Back at the campsite the wind had blown a couple of our tents completely onto their heads. And then . . . . more rain. We sat huddled in the bus for lunch. That was kind of when it was dawning on us that there had been and might still be a lot of rain in Namibia.
|Desert garden at one of the stops|
So, we gave up the campfire idea and made our way to the bar where we tucked into red wine and cider and got to know each other. We had a pub dinner and it turned out to be a fun evening.
Woke up the next morning to a perfect day. It was hard to believe the previous day was so windy and miserable. Had our usual al freso breakfast listening to the birds and each other.
We piled our gear and ourselves back onto the truck and headed east toward the ocean and the town of Swakopmund. I found an olde worlde charm about a lot of the towns and truck stops in Namibia. The population is only 2 million and they seem to have gone about life somewhat removed from the rest of the world. A sort of naive eccentricity exists in many places that is so captivating and refreshing.