Sand, sand dunes and more sand

Trip Start Sep 10, 2008
Trip End Sep 03, 2009

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Flag of Namibia  ,
Sunday, September 21, 2008

The day after our arrival into Swakopmund a couple of us headed into the dunes for some sandboarding. We certainly got our exercise walking up the dune repeatedly. I had naiivly thought, that they would put us beginners onto a small slope at least to start off with, but  we were on the same very steep, high slope as the advanced people EEK! Eventually we managed to get over the fear and managed to get a few good runs standing up for a while without falling over. Much. It was great fun, and something I will do again if I get the chance. The views were amazing and I can't think of a better backdrop. It was a fantastic morning, as there was only 4 of us in the group, apparently last week they had 50 together at one point! Lunch was very welcome and as I cut my roll open the guide warned my to be careful because the most common sandboarding injury was cutting yourself with the knife. Sure enough, 10 minutes later as I headed back for seconds I sliced my finger. That'll teach me to be greedy! My only other injury to report was sunburn complete with finger marks on the slither of my back that I'd managed to miss with the suncream. The sand is so soft that you would have to really try hard to hurt yourself.
We headed back into the dunes a couple of days later to watch the sun rise over the Namib desert. At least we watched the sun rise over the gates to the Namib desert, as they only open them after the sun has come up. We raced straight to dune 45 (as it would seem, did everyone else!) for the climb up. About half of us made it to the top. Dune 45 is meant to be the highest sand dune in the world (and the Namib the oldest desert in the world). It took us about half an hour to climb up it, and 2 minutes to walk down it. Walking down was definately much more fun than walking up it, and we got away from the wind that had been blasting us with sand all the way up.
After breakfast, we walked further into the desert towards dead Vlei, a group of trees on a clay pan that had died when the water dried up, but that were still standing.The trees were very eeiry, but I think most of us were a bit too knackered to enjoy them as it had really started to heat up and walking over the soft sand was exhausting.
We left the sand dunes behind to walk down the Sesriem Canyon. Leaving a few behind in the hot van, we were very appreciative of the cool air in the bottom of the canyon. We walked through the canyon and found a baby snake at the end swimming in a pool. On the way back we came across two holes that our guide said were part of the olympics. Everyone has two stones per hole and has to throw a stone in the hole to win gold. I managed to fluke a stone into the first hole in my first hole, the only other person managing being the guide. I was quite proud of myself! The second hole however, was incredibly high, and nobody managed a hit, and our guide hurt his arm trying to reach it!
For our last night before going back to Windhoek we toasted marshmallows over the campsite, and our guide revealed how you get the cork back out of the wine bottle once you've pushed it in. Altogether, it was a great trip, with a lovely group of people and I was sad that it was over, although looking forwards to sleeping in a bed, not having to put up a tent and not being constantly covered in dust. A week later I'm still finding sand however...
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