No traffic for 140kms
First thing this morning many guests are enjoying sightseeing flights in a light aircraft or a helicopter. The flight route is over the sand dunes of the Namib Naukluft National Park and the views from above are incredible. The Cessna light aircraft takes 5 people plus the pilot and the helicopter takes 3 plus the pilot. On arrival at the helicopter pad it’s not immediately obvious how 4 people will fit. The helicopter looks pretty compact. However on closer inspection we can see 2 seats upfront and 2 immediately behind. The front seat passengers are enclosed by a curved glass windscreen and side doors. The two rear seat passengers don’t get doors! Seat belts, yes. But no doors. You are open to the elements and it is great fun! Everyone has a headset and microphone so you can chat above the wind noise.
Once the excitement is over and everyone is back on terra firma, we board our coach for our onward journey. It is sad to say goodbye to Sossusvlei Lodge but we’ve enjoyed our time here and will take home happy memories.
By 10am we are on the road and heading north to Solitaire. The river that stopped us in our tracks a couple of days ago is completely dry today! We cross with ease. After a quick stop at Solitaire Lodge we continue towards the Gaub Canyon, making a stop at the road sign indicating the Tropic of Capricorn. Quite a number of photos are taken! It makes us think about Simon Reeve’s BBC TV series about the Tropic of Capricorn, and we’re looking forward to meeting Simon at our reunion event this October.
The mighty (but utterly dry) Kuiseb River is the venue for our lunch break. Snacks and provisions are carried to the river bed. After lunch, we turn west to cross the desert towards the coast. Our driver, August, concentrates on the driving while many of us take a siesta. We cover 140 kms (nearly 90 miles) without seeing another vehicle! You couldn’t do that in the UK. We hit the coast at Walvis Bay, a busy town and important commercial port. We’ll be back here tomorrow but for now we continue north to the town of Swakopmund. Here we check-in to the Hansa Hotel. Delightful in all respects, the hotel offers comfortable bedrooms, attractive lounges, a small garden and an excellent restaurant. We are bang in the middle of town and within easy walking distance of the sea front. Before dinner some of us venture out, and a few even make it to the pier!