Sossusvlei to Swakopmund

 Posted by Elizabeth at 4:55 pm
Apr 222011

Dune 45After a 4.30am wake up, we were packed up and through the gate at 5.05am and on our way to Dune 45. The early start wasn’t so bad as we were in bed early and there were people up at the same time so we really woke up anyway. It was still just dark when we reached Dune 45 and began the climb up the ridge of it to the top for sunrise. Man was it HARD work! You climb along the top ridge of the dune and slowly make your way to the top. It felt like every step you took forward you slid back halfway in the sand and it was steep. My calves really ached and I needed to stop every 15 steps or so – I am way too old for this! You think you are nearly at the top but then as you reach the peak you realise that no, there is yet more to climb and that was just a false hope! I did though make it to the top, and in time for sunrise. We sat ourselves down in the fine red sand at the top of the dune and watched as the sun slowly rose and bathed the red dunes in the morning light. It was quite pretty and peaceful and was worth the hard slog to the top. I am sure tomorrow my legs will be aching!

Dune 45Dune 45Dune 45

After descending the dune, which was a damn sight easier than climbing it, we headed off down the road to Sossusvlei. The last 5km of road is 4wd only and is thick soft sand. Fully knowing better, we were too lazy to let the tyres down and of course we got bogged when we had to stop for someone else who had got stuck and was blocking the way. It only took 10 mins to let the tyres down, dig a bit of sand away from the rear wheels and get on our way again, so it was no big deal, but we won’t be so lazy next time! At the end there was another huge dune that people were climbing, but there was no way I was going to climb another dune!

Our plan was to spend the day at Sesriem Camp, but it was still really early when we Springbokgot back so we headed off to Ganab Waterhole in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, again seeing lots of springbok. We stopped off at Solitaire to sample the famous apple crumble. It was pretty good, although one serve is way too big. When we got to Ganab it was warm but very windy -perfect washing drying weather. We made ourselves comfortable with a cuppa and had a peaceful rest for an hour or so whilst the washing dried. As the wind was still really strong, we decided that we really did not want to spend another sleepless night being blown around by the wind and decided to head off to Swakopmund. (In hindsight this probably wasn’t the best decision as the wind seems to stop in the evening and where we ended up staying was horrible!)

Near Walvis BayAs you drive in to Walvis Bay it is like you have come to the end of the earth. There is a thick grey mist from the ocean kilometres inland, with grey gravel, sand and dunes as far as you can see. There is no sign of any life, human, plant or animal and there are a few small rugged rocks here and there like you are on the moon. The sand dunes are building up around the power poles and the whole landscape is barren and desolate. (The picture really does not capture it). The drive along the coast from Walvis Bay to Swakopmund is no better; There is sand everywhere with a few buildings seemingly pushing up out of the sand. The road has sand  on it at times and the heavy mist is ever present, making it nearly impossible to see the ocean even though you are only a few hundred metres from it. The locals though don’t seem to mind and they were out along the coast fishing and picnicking. After talking to the locals, it seems that they only get 1-2 hours of sun a day and the mist is always around. How they get their washing dry I don’t know as the mist is wet! Why anyone would want to live here is beyond me.

The only place left to camp was at Mile 4 Camp, which was not particularly pleasant. It is a large campground with hundreds of sites right on the water, but there is not one tree or blade of grass to be seen. The toilets had hot water, but were not very clean and to top it off, there were several groups of people who were spending the weekend together and at night they had a full on band playing and singing Christian songs (which I am sure only had 3 words to each one) at full volume. We were not impressed! We moved sites to one right down the back as far away from them as possible and did manage to get away from the noise.

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