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  • Day176

    Sesreim- Deadvlei

    March 9, 2020 in Namibia ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

    We get up early to take the rooftop tent down and to get in the park for 6am. There's a small queue of people already waiting at the park gates, so we park up in line. At 6am on the dot(!), we enter the park. Everyone is racing through the park, trying to get to the sand dunes for sunrise, which should be around 6.45. It's about 50km to the main dunes, so it's no time to take it slow.

    As the sky turns lighter, we can start to make out the distant shapes of far-off dunes. They're so big that at first, we don't think they can be dunes. But surely enough, as the sun starts to rise, we find ourselves surrounded by blood-red sand dunes, taller than skyscapers. It's magnificent.

    The sun hasn't yet risen by the time we make it to Dune 45, one of the climbable dunes. We put on our walking shoes and set off up the dune, which looks far more of a challenge than we imagined. As we get to the base of the dune, an owl swoops down and stands before us in all its wisdom. With a glint in its giant eyes, it studies us, considers us up to the task, and allows us to proceed.

    It's a fair old hike up the dune, and we are racing against the clock to beat the sun. We sink into the dune with every step, and our boots fill up with sand, bogging us down further. One or two people give up, and just sit on the slope of the dune. We're determined, though, and we make it to the summit JUST in time for the sun to peek its way up over the rugged dunes and spill light over this bizarre landscape. All around us, we see monumental dunes, curving one way and disappearing another, meandering out to the horizon. It's the desert landscape that stories are made of.

    After taking in the sunrise, we head back down, empty out our boots and head off to Deadvlei. This is the remains of an old riverbed that dried up. The trees that once drank from the river's waters died, but were petrified in the intense dry heat. It's another walk through the sand to get there, and it seems that all the signs have been covered by the shifting dunes. We head slightly the wrong way and start climbing up another massive dune. When we catch sight of Deadvlei, it's at the base of the dune, 150 metres or so below us. So, we turn, and throw ourselves down the steep slope, running down the dune, sending sand everywhere. It's fantastic fun.

    Deadvlei itself is magnificent. It is watched over by the biggest dune of them all- the 300 metre "Big Daddy", which is just the worst name we can think of. It is possible to climb the dune, but it's a fair old way, and even at 9am, it's reaching 36 degrees. With limited supplies of water, we decide against it.
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    Good tale. Any photos?

    4/15/20Reply