The Namib Desert

Sossusvlei, Namibia

Greetings from southern Namibia! Monday morning we drove our 4-wheel drive truck south from Windhoek into the Namib desert. As the scenery changed from semi-arid to desert we began to see oryx and ostrich along the roadside. Large herds of a small desert antelope called Springbok as well. How these animals exist in this hostile environment is a wonder, but apparently they are well adapted to very little food and less water.

The Namib Desert is the oldest on the planet, having experienced a dry climate for longer than any other. We are here during the southern hemisphere summer, so it is very hot … 40 degrees most afternoons. This means there are very few other tourists. Those who are here are mostly northern Europeans, especially Germans. Namibia was a German colony until the end of WW1 and the German influence remains.

The Kulala Desert Lodge is on the edge of the dunes, with great views, a refreshing pool, a small watering hole in front of the dining patio that draws animals, and a collection of “tents” for rooms. With attached baths, rooftop decks for star-gazing and front decks for animal watching, they are not the tents we typically camp in, to say the least!

The highlight of this part of the trip was our morning in the sand dunes. Up at 0530 and into the truck by dawn, we saw the sun come up and light the dunes. We climbed one and then descended into an area called the “dead vlei”, a dried up river bed, where trees used to grow, but as the rainfall diminished the trees died and dehydrated, still standing.

A few hours and several hundred photos later, and even though the dunes and dead trees all started to look the same, we were completely entranced by the stark beauty of the landscape. I’ve selected a few of my favourite images.

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