Red dunes at sunrise

The Sossusvlei in Namibia

A few years ago I was for the first time with customers in Namibia. (zum deutschen Blog.) One thing I can say in advance: who was there once, cannot get rid of the country.

A long day of driving lies behind us. The gravel and sand tracks have shaken our minibus quite a lot.

gravel road in Namibia
gravel road in Namibia

In the afternoon we arrive at our lodge.

 

It is the Hammerstein Lodge.

 

tree at Hammerstein Lodge
tree at Hammerstein Lodge

We are welcomed by three young, playing cheetahs. We should not touch them, even if the sweet little fellows would not mind. They are just as playful as small house cats. However, they get reintroduced to the wilderness, and should get as little contact as possible with people. Unfortunately cheetahs in Namibia are threatened with extinction, therefore the breeding program. (I cannot say whether the Hammerstein Lodge still got the breeding program.)

young cheetah
young cheetah

Who likes to can take a trip for game viewing before dinner.  After the really delicious food we retreat early into our bungalow rooms, because we have to get up before five o’clock in the morning.

sunset in Namibia
sunset in Namibia

It starts through the pitch-black darkness. Only an impressive starry sky illuminates the darkness a little. We just hope that no large animal, like an antelope or zebra, lured by the headlights, jumps on the road.

After a good hour of a breakneck ride through the night, we arrive at the entrance of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Amazing, but at this really early hour many other visitors wait with us for the park opening. Only after sunrise driving through the National park is allowed. We still have to wait a little while.

 

The Sossusvlei

 

It gets brighter very slowly, the stars fade, a soft blue makes the sky noticeable. The waiting tourists are getting restless, as we all want to be at the Sossusvlei dunes shortly after sunrise. Until then, however, there are 60 km more to drive on a well maintained road.

Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei

At last the rangers open the gate. We drive into the pan. In the pale light of early morning we will soon see a group of ostriches. Some of the male lead their young. The females in their unadorned brown plumage stand aside.

ostrich
ostrich

As far as we can see it is flat, sand in all shades, a little grass here and there, most grazed by the animals or already withered. This national park is made up of the oldest desert in the world. That’s very impressive, yet the desert is alive. Again and again we see gemsbok, which have adapted to the barren life here.

Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei

Finally we arrive at the end of the road, we have already passed some of the more than 300 m high sand dunes. Very beautiful! Lonely and imposing they rise from the plain. In the light of the rising sun, they cast long shadows and shine in an intense orange-red. They are even more beautiful than I thought.

Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei

The last few kilometers to a picnic area we have to travel in a jeep, the road changed to a sand track. We get shaken properly, the sand is powdering us.

Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei

We have arrived, the sun has granted us a beautiful spectacle when merging. Even the air is pleasant. We cannot get enough of the huge dunes.

However, our stomachs growl audibly and we decide to eat the picnic that we brought. A few trees and shrubs give us a little shade and protection from the sandy wind. Nevertheless, it grinds a bit between the teeth.

Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei

Quickly I have eaten my breakfast. I’m drawn to the dunes. Here it is allowed to climb them. The closer I get, the higher they seem to me. This will be a long, sandy and hot ascent as it looks. But I want to do it!

I begin the ascent to the narrow ridge of the dune. Many traces can be seen; not only from people, but also from many animals unknown to me. Have they been here last night?

Again and again I turn around and look at the giant sand hills. With every minute that passes, their color and the shadows change. Getting up early has been absolutely worth it!

My shadow in the sand
My shadow in the sand

It is still quite early and autumn, but the sun beats down mercilessly from the cloudless blue sky. I am glad that I have taken not only my camera, but also a bottle of water up here. It’s very hot and I am happy to wear a hat.

While I hardly can`t get enough of this incomparable view I get on my way back. A human need becomes apparent.

Behind the picnic area there is a small wooden house that I would like to visit now.

ants in the red sand of the Sossusvlei
ants in the red sand of the Sossusvlei

The ground here is flat, hard-packed red sand. A few scrawny bushes try to survive. Brown grass rises up here and there.

What’s this? Something small black moves on the earth. Hopefully not a spider! No, there is a large black beetle running around here. What a strong color contrast, I need to take a photo!

I switch on the camera, zoom, pull the shutter and? Nothing! Crap! I scold loudly to myself. Here is nobody except the beetle. Such a nice picture and the camera does not work. The beetle has pity on me and waits until I realize that I had accidentally pressed the video function. As we know, usually the problem lies at the user, not the device ….So I can still (probably) make some beautiful photos of the fog drinkers beetle. Here to these dunes I really want to come again, let’s see when that will be.


Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei

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