Namib Naukluft Park
The restaurant team at our lodge kindly set-up early, and we’ve enjoyed breakfast and are on board our coach and ready for the park gates to open at sunrise. With park permits completed in advance, we speed through formalities and we’re on the road towards Sossusvlei. As the sun rises above the mountains, the light on the sand dunes is spectacular! We pass by Dune 45, where backpackers run up the dune ridge, not something we propose to do today. We continue to the end of the park road and prepare ourselves for the transfer across the sandy plain to Deadvlei. Only 4WD vehicles are permitted beyond this point so we use local game viewer vehicles or a large tractor and trailer. Our “local man”, Stanley, has kindly reserved the tractor option so we can all travel together. It’s not overly fast but it is fun! At the drop-off point we start our walk to Deadvlei. We cross the final ridge and the view is amazing. A dry pan with 600-year old tree trunks, the world’s tallest sand dunes, and clear blue skies! Simply unworldly.
We trundle back over the sand and Stanley is waiting for us. On the way back across the sand, one of our party loses a hat but we’re going so slowly that Richard can almost jump off, retrieve it and run back on board!
Our coach driver, August, has some snacks waiting for us for the drive back along the park road. Bananas, juice and a cereal bar seem to go down well. Our next stop is Sesriem Canyon, a mini Grand Canyon formed by river flows thousands of years ago. We take a careful look from the top.
Siesta time back at Sossusvlei Lodge before a 4pm rendezvous to join the lodge’s optional Sundowner Nature Drive. We split into small groups and travel in 4 game viewing vehicles. We’re not anticipating much wildlife but the scenery is wonderful. Then, unexpectedly, we see something running from left to right, and it turns out to be a group of Bat Eared Foxes! A rare sighting and quite a treat! Our local drivers also show us some ancient rock art before we all converge on an area of boulders for our sundowner drink. Someone has clearly been here and prepared a table. White cloth, snacks and bubbly on ice. Can’t be bad! The sunset colours on the rocks and distant mountains and sand dunes is wonderful too.