Strenuous 5 am exercise

Trip Start Feb 23, 2009
Trip End Aug 22, 2009

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Flag of Namibia  ,
Friday, July 10, 2009

Since we were camped within the grounds of the Sesriem campsite, we were able to enter the park as soon as it opened at 5:30 am.  We arrived at Dune 45 at about 6 am and immediately started climbing the monstrous 150 metre dune (the biggest dunes are over 300 metres though!)!  Rather unintelligently I chose to run up the side of the dune, which lasted for maybe 2 minutes before I was horribly winded...then the rest of the climb was horrible slow walking...I nearly though that the chest pains would kill me!  If you hate sand, then believe me, it's really not that exciting a photo op!  Climbing Dune 45 is on my list of 'done and never to be done again.'   It took most of our group at least 20 minutes to reach the top!  Certainly not for the cardiovascularly impaired!

After our 'brisk' morning hike, we embarked on of Kumuka Tours optional activities: a walk through Sossusvlei (Valley where people disappear) with a bushman.  I must admit, I was expecting a small African man dressed in tribal skins.  Needless to say I was rather surprised when our bushman turned out to be a tanned caucasian man.  However he certainly knew his stuff!  He tracked a small lizard by finding it's tracks in the sand, located a trapdoor spider and it's lair hidden beneath the sand and fed us dried nuts from a jackal poo.  A wild day by all standards, but the highlight for me was walking barefoot through the desert to the Dead Vlei.  The area formed due to certain geographical circumstances and has resulted in 1000 year old preserved trees trapped in an off-white grave. 

We learned many bits of information from our bushman guide!  For example, when the bushmen hunted for food, they would often eat the eyes of the killed animal first because they contain the most water, which in the desert, is quite a hot commodity.  The bushmen also had quite flexible stomachs, as they could consume as much as 10 kilograms of meat in one sitting (no sense giving it up for wild animals, I suppose).  The Bushmen have not been found in the deserts of Namibia since 1912, due to them being hunted and kept as pets by locals.  It's quite sad...

After our exciting day in the desert, we had a another drive to the very German influenced town of Swakopmund...more to come on the town later...Although I will say we had a lovely game meal at the Napolitana restaurant in Swakopmund.  I had a Kudu and Springbok burger, that was comparable in size to my head!
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