Tag Archives: dunes

Dune Sunrise

Day 8 Dec. 20 Saturday
Up very early at 430 and on the road to Dune 45 before breakfast to catch the sunrise from the top of the dune. Mike, feeling rough with the effects of his cold, didn’t climb with us, opting instead to take pics from below. We climbed …. and we climbed ….. rested …… and then we climbed some more. Finally, when we couldn’t go any farther, we just plopped ourselves down in the sand and enjoyed each other’s company until, in awe, we witnessed the rising of the sun in silent splendor. As the sun continued to rise, the light became good enough for a selfie or two which turned into a selfie flood. Here are just a few of the pics I took from both top and bottom of the dune.

IMG_2718Sunrise 1   IMG_2734

Victorious Rachel selfie

Panorama from the top of Dune 45, looking down, framed by  Claire on the right, Rachel on the left, and our crew below.

Panorama R and C

Panorama shot from the bottom of Dune 45, looking up.

Sunrise Panorama

Ran down the face of the dune, creating little mini-sand-slides as we went, supervised by an oryx below who wasn’t too concerned (probably came to see the show from his perspective – crazy humans!).

.Rachel sliding Claire running down

Our different styles of descending the dune.

The guys were waiting for us with a big breakfast of french toast, coffee and the ever present rusks.

Waiting for us

Parting shots of Dune 45 and the ridge we climbed, as we left for the next challenge, Big Daddy Dune.

Dune 45

Big Daddy Dune was indeed, BIG!! After breakfast we drove a few kilometres further and parked the bus. We set off walking cross country but parallel to a sand road much the same as what we drove on in the Wahiba Desert in Oman. Rides in safari vehicles to the dune were on offer but we opted to walk the 5 kilometres to the dunes. Here is some of the spectacular scenery we saw.

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Mike and I had had enough of climbing the shifting red sand of the dunes and chose instead to skirt the edge of the dune and watch the others trudge their way to the top.

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We took the lower altitude route around the base of the dunes to Deadvlei, a huge white salt pan with twisted, blackened, dead, acacia trees. It made for some spectacular shots with the red dunes as a background and the blue sky above. Saw some great abstract art in the sand/salt pan.

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Everyone else in our group went up the dune and I took pics of them perched way above us. (You can just see them there, in the last pic on the right, perched as a small cluster, on the very top, in the “V” of the tree branch.)

DSCN3952We met these two women who were also visiting.DSCN3927

We left to walk back to camp while the others came down, took pics and caught the shuttle back. It was a long walk back, and very hot but still, I enjoyed it. We walked over 10 km.

One last view of the most beautiful dunes in the world and then lunch where we were parked. Then, back to camp.

We were all tired but our tents were in the full sun so we sat in the bar for a while sipping a beer and chatted, waiting for the shade to reach our tents so we could snooze. We didn’t feel the wind rising. When we finally settled into our tents for a snooze, the wind gathered strength and before long, we were covered in a layer of fine sand. We closed up the tent and returned to the bar.

IMG_2781In the late afternoon, we walked into another canyon, Sesriem Canyon. Beautiful but too tired to appreciate it fully.

Back to camp for a dinner of  stir-fry beef and veggies with macaroni.


To bed and sleep.

Dune Sunset in Namibia 530 km

Day 7 Dec. 19 Friday
What a way to wake up – a beautiful sunrise enjoyed sitting just inside the door of the tent.

Sunrise from the tent  View from the tentWe were on the road by 7 am. On the bus this morning, before we started driving, Rachel took out one of her bags of chips and commented that we’d better eat them before they turned into crumbs (referring to having carried them around for so long). Mike said,  “Then we can snort Simba dust “. Rachel replied, “Yah, riding the Africa lion”! We had a good giggle. A great sunrise and lots of laughter – could life be any better?

We were heading to Sessriem, to a campsite located on the edge of the Namib Desert, (one of the world’s oldest deserts) a distance of over 500 km so we had a full day ahead of us. Below is a map of our route so far this trip. This laminated map was at the back of the bus. Everyday, one of our crew members would trace out our route but this day was the first day that I thought to take a picture of it.

Bus Map

The terrain continued to change – from sand, rock buttes, and scraggly trees to the same endless sea of stones, bushes and occasional small hills. I twice spotted a type of raptor sitting atop the power poles running alongside the highway we were on. I wondered if they were fish Eagles? They looked much like our bald eagles.

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We stopped for lunch under a feather tree – my name for it – it’s actually a camel thorn also know as an acacia tree (they have 2 inch long spikes on them). When I went to answer the call of nature, I had an encounter with a camel thorn – it went right through the sole of my Sketchers and into my foot. Extremely painful for 5 minutes or so.

Continuing on, we began to see more farms and game farms – our attention drawn to the fencing around these farms. Some of the fencing looked just like a regular fence – fence poles, wires etc. Others, had two  layers of fence, it seemed – imagine a regular fence with another one above it, each supporting the wires with upright strips of wood, to make it that much taller. The private game farms had this much higher, more distinctive – looking fencing than the other, traditional farms.

FINALLY!!! The long anticipated red dunes. The pictures below show the first sighting of the red dunes of the Namib desert appearing through the distant haze.

First dune view Dunes
We finally arrived in Sessriem at around 3! (The end point on the map above shows you exactly where we were.) There was a beautiful bar; the high thatched ceiling and large open windows making it very airy.

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We met Rhea who joined the tour from California. Had a drink, set up camp, played Uno accompanied by uproarious laughter as we nailed each other with the cards, had a cappuccino in the bar and at 530 set off to climb Elim Dune. It looked like a baby dune – nothing we couldn’t manage to climb. (This over-confidence came from our past experiences climbing the dunes in the Wahiba desert in Oman – we knew it would be difficult but….). Below is fellow adventurer, Jan, just starting his climb.

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This was to be our practice dune as there would be two other, higher dunes to climb the next day. We managed to climb to the top and spent the next hour or more enjoying the view, laughter, feelings of accomplishment and of course, the sunset.

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We ran all the way down in less than a quarter of the time it took to go up and were soon back in camp for a dinner of lamb stew (karoo lamb I think because it was so … delicious!)