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May 28 2013

Sossusvlei

After a truly fantastic experience in Namib Desert Park (par of Namib Naukluft National Park) it was time to head towards Sossusvlei – in response to a call for help!

Our dear friends Noel and Ping have been travelling the same length of time as us.  We met In La Linea in Spain while contemplating crossing the border to Morocco.  We travelled for a time together in Morocco.  While our travels have meandered slightly differently, we have managed to meet up a few times along the way: another visit in Agadir, Morocco; another in Johannesburg, South Africa.  We have kept in touch always in the hope of meeting up again.

So, when they crossed into Namibia, and were suffering more car troubles, we realised a good dose of moral support was in order.  They reserved the adjacent campsite in Sussosvlei Oasis and we arrived late in the day after a long, hot drive.  But it was worth it to be greeted with open arms and big hugs.

We also met Allison and Toby, cyclists who have been making their way from Khartoum, Sudan to Cape Town, South Africa.  I truly admire cyclists – their challenges with food, water and accommodation so much tougher than those we face in a vehicle.

And so, 6 travel weary people enjoyed a couple of relaxed, lazy days, catching up on vehicle maintenance and enjoying meals together.

The campsite was fabulous!

Not only did we have our own showers and toilets, but also washing up basin, and paved area under shade.  There was a swimming pool, which Viking Explorer bravely dipped in (only a few degrees above freezing he remarked in a high-pitched voice).  The gemsbok wandered through the camp at night to drink from the pool, and the hooves of small herds of springbok could be on the hard ground after dark.

All too soon, we were heading our different ways again: Noel and Ping onwards to Windhoek to find the tyre shop; Allison and Toby heading towards Luderitz; and Kapp2Cape into Sossusvlei National Park before heading towards Naukluft Mountains.

Up early, we made the 60km trip (on tar) into the dunes.  The morning light was spectacular, with the dunes throwing long, dark shadows against the red sands.  We drove and admired, stopped to take photos, and were in awe of the natural beauty.  The last 5 km of sand lead us to the parking lot at Big Daddy dune… along with dozens of other tourists all doing the same. This was definitely the most touristy place we’ve been in Namibia!

Of course, it had to be climbed.

We made our way along the narrow ridge, climbing higher and higher.  The view across the Sossusvlei expanded.  On each side of the dune, a small salt pan, white against the red dunes.  It was spellbinding.

Then, we made our way down again … and heard a voice calling “Hello Norway!  Hello South Africa!”.  To our enormous surprise and delight, it was Kevin and Seraina, who we met in Palapye, Botswana and bumped into again a few times.  Such a lovely surprise as we thought they were further south already.

They had yet to climb the dunes, so we arranged to meet back at the permit office for a drink and catch-up.  Our last one on this trip, as we head in opposite directions now.

But, before we could finally depart – we discovered a fuel leak!  Not really what we had scheduled into the day.  Fortunately, Johan at the Sossusvlei Lodge (who ran the campsite) came to the rescue and helped Viking Explorer change clamp.  Without too much delay, we were back on the road again.

Sossusvlei was a worthwhile stop, with unforgettable scenery.  But for us, it will forever be a place of new and old travelling friends.

1 comment

  1. tuggy

    isnt the world a small place..meeting up with everybody…we are heading back to the UK in august our time here in spain has run its corse…so hope fully we will catch up with you again one day…”{

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