Desert, Dunes and Canyons

Trip Start Oct 29, 2003
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Namibia  ,
Sunday, October 29, 2006

The road south out of Swakopmund is quite dramatic with the Atlantic Ocean pounding the shore on one side and huge sweeping dunes on the other. We went as far as the coastal road would take us before it turned inland (thus avoiding the diamond mines) towards the Namib Naukluft National Park.

At nearly 50,000 square kilometers the park is the fourth largest conservation area in the world, apparently, and the desert is among the world's oldest clocking in at over 130 million years.

We were heading to the town of Sossusvlei, although it didn't seem so much a town as a shop and whole lot of sand. The reason we were here was because of the magnificent dunes - some of which climb to over 300m high - and the opportunity to climb Dune 45 at sunrise.

It was just our luck then that when we woke at 5am the truck had a puncture. When Joe the guide and King the driver told us I thought they were JoeKing, but eventually they changed the wheel by torchlight. King then drove like a nutter to get us to the base of the dune (called Dune 45 because it's the 45th dune on the map and the only one sacrificed for tourists to clamber over) just as the sun began to tint the sky. As you can imagine, climbing in sand is quite a slog but after about 30 minutes I had made it to the top, offering fantastic views of the surrounding dunes and shifting shadows as the sun rose. Imagine my disappointment then when a busload of Croatians showed up. So I left.

Next up on Namibia's list of wonders was Fish River Canyon. It's 550m deep, up to 17 miles across and second in size to only the Grand Canyon in the U. S. and A. The Fish River was better in one respect (no tourists!) but that meant there were no facilities or trails down into the canyon. Instead we walked two miles of the 53 mile trail along the rim, and very impressive it was too.


Big Brother Truck Update

As I have mentioned, new people joined the truck at Vic Falls so here's a brief rundown of who's who:

Mark and Erik - Canada
Gay (or if they aren't then very, very camp and confused) but not together. Youngish and like beer. Good sense of humour. Inherent wrist problems mean can't throw a frisbee.

Carl - UK
Spoilt rich kid from Bristol just out of uni. Has loads of electronics (although his laptop has come in handy) and bores us with stories of driving his car at 160mph on the M4 - has a video to prove it. Can't hold his beer.

Wendy - USA
Making her way back to New Joisey after working for a year in Antarctica. Lovely girl, but she kept warm out there by eating. And Antarctica is bloody cold.

Keith and Denise - UK
Nerd alert! Nice enough couple from up north but they don't like the heat or sun. I asked them if they knew much about Africa. Denise gets loaded on one glass of wine and then slags off the Royal family which is always good fun around the campfire.

Leanne (Scotland) and Lloyd (Zimbabwe)
Leanne is a doctor working 6 months in Cape Town where she met Lloyd a local artist. Can't really understand either of them so unable to tell you much.

And last but probably least:

Gunther and Giselle - Canada (by way of Nazi Germany)
Even older than Brucie! In their early 70s so should probably be on a cruise ship getting waited on hand and foot instead of camping. In fact, we almost had a whip-round to send them. Actually, Gunther is quite cool and has a sense of humour but Giselle just moans and compares the trip to the one she did in South America. I told her she should have stayed there.
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ukdickinson on

What happened to your hair?
Local haircut, right? Sounds like an interesting trip, although I'd have hoped you would meet some more normal people on the bus...oh well...

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