Our great road adventure into the desert and some of the highest sand dunes in the world lay ahead, and I must admit, I was a little anxious. TravelswithElsa often travels where Elsa has never traveled before!
We left early the next morning. The tar road soon gave way to gravel and then to dirt: the GPS sent us in one direction, Karen’s phone app in another. I stopped the car, and getting out, hailed the only other vehicle we had seen for miles, a passing ‘bakkie’ (small truck) to make sure we were heading for the dunes. We were supposed to follow the middle of three routes going to Walvis Bay, and we were following the top one. Not to worry – all roads lead to Walvis Bay, and we would see the turn-off to our destination. We relaxed and enjoyed the unexpected wildlife that suddenly popped up along the way: a baboon, a buck, a hare and a few mongoose. Going through a mountain pass, we stopped to admire the starkness of the semi-dessert, and the impressive rock formations. Soon after, we began to see vast stretches of desert sand and small herds of gemsbuck.
We took the obligatory photos at the Tropic of Capricorn, and shortly after, arrived at Solitaire for a very necessary fuel fill-up and their legendary apple-pie. Solitaire is not much more than small gas station, a convenience store and a huge yard full of car skeletons. Then it was on to our guest lodge, another 30 minutes of really bumpy roads and potholes. The Namib Desert Lodge consists of a series of ‘square-dawels’ set against a stunning mountain range. Early the next morning, we drove to Sossusvlei, and then 40 miles through the national park amidst a sea of sand dunes until we reached ‘Big Daddy’. Judy and Karen climbed the dune while I took photos and chatted to the other guides. A little further, we left the car at the general parking area and climbed aboard one of the four-by-four shuttles that could navigate the very thick sand to reach the end destination, Sesriem, a most desolate and dry area. We headed back to the Namib Desert Lodge and enjoyed the endless stars in the desert sky and another lovely dinner. After breakfast, we were back on ‘sandy tracks’ and rugged mountain roads and on our way to Walvis Bay.