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THE NAMIBIA DESERT & AMAZING CANYON VIEWS!

Namibia

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View SOUTHERN AFRICA 2018 on Tracy87's travel map.

NOVEMBER 18TH DAY 17

After a nice little sleep in before loading the new truck, it's a quick breakfast and we are on the road once again.

We leave the comfort of the main roads to dirt and gravel  that make the drive slow going.

Despite the heat and dust we pass thru some magnificent scenery, sparse rocky hills changes to flat farmland and dry sandy plains.

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Sandy plains...
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... remote farmland!
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Signs of life out here!

We stop for lunch at a remote tourist stop in the middle of nowhere called Solitaire, it reminds of something out of a western movie.  

It is so damn hot out here, the wind doesn't bring reprieve from the heat it just makes it worse. 

After lunch we head to the shop and café and stock up on supplies of ice cream, cold drinks and snacks before we get in the truck again for the final drive of the day.

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A stop at Solitaire!

After a long hot drive into the desert we finally make it to camp. 

The wind has really picked up and the sand gets into everything, and looking around we really are in the middle of nowhere surround by nothing but sand dunes.

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Campsite in the desert!

After helping prepare dinner I jump in the shower it feels good to wash the sand off, but no sooner do you step out into the open air the sandy wind hits you again. 

the desert starts to cool with the setting sun and we have dinner around the fire, it's been a long hot drive so I head to my tent and read a bit before finally settling in to sleep.

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Desert evening!

NOVEMBER 19TH DAY 18

We roused awake by Victor and it is still dark, we pack our tents under camp lights, this morning we drive to Dune 45.

Our arrival is timed perfectly as the reserve entrance is just opening.  We make our way to the base of the huge orange copper colored dune. 

It is called Dune 45 as they are numbered in order along the Tsauchab River and it just so happens it is exactly 45km from the edge of the Namib Desert. 

We are parked on a dry river bed, and while the others climb up the dune, I stay with the Intrepid team and enjoy the sunrise, the cloudy start to the day mutes the color changes of the sand but is still a beautiful way to start the day.

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The start of a new African day!
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A beautiful way to begin the day!

We are parked on a dry river bed, it is hard to imagine it teaming with water.  It spreads out stark white in the rusty sand.  Spindly dried trees are trying to grow in this harsh environment. 

This desert is the oldest in the world, 80 million years, it is hard to believe there was once water here.

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Namib Desert!
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Such a place of contrast!

It is so beautiful and peaceful out here, I help Emmanuel with breakfast and then sit with a coffee and just enjoy the tranquility of natures surroundings.

Just sitting and watching the colors of the sand change from a coffee color to a lovely bright orange as the sun comes up and the clouds thin is a great reason to be up in the middle of the night.

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Top of Dune 45!

The quiet is broken with the return of the others, most enjoyed the view but complained it was crowded at the top with the other tour groups, glad I didn't go up there, mind you with my fear of heights I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it anyway.

With another of Emmanuel's fantastic breakfasts in our bellies we drive to the pick up center, while we are waiting for the arrangements to be made we have time to wander around. 

There is a queue for the toilets a mile long, so I decide to make use of the "bush toilet" or more of a "sandy dune toilet".  I am minding my own business so to speak when a lone Oryx appears from the desert and just stops and looks at me (what is about me, toilets and wildlife on this trip!)  He is less than 5 meters away and just stands and stares at me. 

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Bush Toilet Visitor!

Slowly I reorganize myself and my movements don't alert him, so I quietly watch him.  Seeing him up close those striking markings and those long curved horns.

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"Some privacy please!"

A stupid man comes noisily striding over trying to get closer to take a photo, the Oryx is startiled and he puts his down and begins to charge, I stay crouched and very still the man turns and runs, the Oryx chases him for a couple of meters before skidding to a halt, he shakes his head, he looks at me and sensing that I am of no threat to him turns and walks away.

When I turn to walk back to the group this man is laughing, this infuriates me and I let him know, "You idiot, this is a wild animal that can kill a Lion to protect itself when it has to show some respect!"  With a look of shook he tries to say something but I don't give the chance.

Our 4x4s are ready, our group is separated into 2 vehicles and as we drive further into the desert a little race begins to take place, as we over take each other, taunts and laughter can be heard from each 4x4.

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Race thru the desert!

If we went 300km east and west we would reach the edge of the Namib Desert.  We are in the center on the dried Konkiep River bed, which begins in Angola, today it is hard ivory patches, dry and dusty.

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The once Konkiep River!

Some of opt out of climbing the dunes and follow a inward track to a vast ancient dried lake.  It is so wild out here the contrasts of nature a nd the colors.  Dried trees stand stark and dark on the sand.  It is a lovely haunting place, and it is nice to sit and to simply enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

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A strange....
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haunting....
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.... wonderful place!

Walking back to the 4x4s across the dry river bed it remains me of an ivory Tortoise shell, from a distance it looks rough but standing on it up close it is smooth with slight grooves and swirling patterns.

While we wait for the others it's nice to explore the surroundings, when you look out into the vastness, the rolling dunes go on forever. This ancient desert that unbelievably hides pockets of life. 

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Sea of sand!

Once there is enough of us to fill a 4x4 we head back to the truck.  The Oryx is gone, and the only wildlife around are little blue and grey Sparrows.  

Emmanuel makes us a coffee and we wait for the rest to arrive, it's not long before we are back on the dusty roads, it seems like out here in the middle of Namibia the roads are all gravel and sand , it makes the drive seem desolate and slow.

The scenery changes from crumbling rocky hills to flat sparse farmland of hardy trees and scrub.  Why would anyone want to live out here.

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It's so desolate!
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What a way to live!
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It seems to go on forever!

We stop in the small town of Bethanie for a shopping break, this little town has a lot of churches, a very religious society the colonial Germans once were, staunch Lutherans.  It is one of the oldest settlements in Namibia, set up by Missionaries, why would they want to start a township out here?

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The Old Lutheran Church!

This little old town has The General Store, must items are sold in bulk but we manage to get a few supplies, but the coffee shop makes a great latte, and has a lovely array of German cakes and slices, some of which I haven't had since I lived there.

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The main store in town!
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A great coffee stop!

We don't stay for very long before we head to our campsite for the night.  It is very basic but comfortable, the hot shower feels amazing.  We have a few drinks before we are called for dinner,

It's been a long hot dusty day of driving, and we were up before the sun, so I head to bed early...

NOVEMBER 20TH DAY 19

After a nice little sleep in and a relaxed breakfast, we begin our travels south into the vast Namibian Desert, the landscape doesn't change much from yesterday and we make it to our next campground in time for lunch.

It is so hot here and after setting up our tents is hard work, but we are distracted by a Kudu that has come for a visit.  He comes right up to the truck and stops and stares at us.  He is a little skinny, you can see his ribs, but he is spectacular, being so close you really get a sense of how big they are, and those markings are amazing.

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Hello there handsome!
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... and off he goes!
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See ya later, thanks for the visit!

Watching Victor and Emmanuel trying to set up for lunch, has us in fits of laughter as they have to cope with Long Winged Starlings trying to steal a morsel or two off the table.  They seem to really like the butter!

They spend half their time trying to shoo them away, they are everywhere and not shy at all.  They even watch us as we eat from the trees and at our feet, there is so many of them!

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Lunch Companions!
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Hoping we will share!

We have the afternoon to ourselves and the swimming pool is very inviting in this desert heat and it is a welcome relief.

Victor rounds us up for the drive out to Fish River Canyon, we are going to be there for sunset.  Ben drops us off at one end so we can slowly make our back to the viewing point for sunset and drinks.

WOW what a view!  Victor tells us NOT to climb down as it is a 5 day hike to get to the bottom and if we get lost or fall there are no rescue helicopters in the area!

Visitors have made little stone pillars on the path to the first viewpoint and I add my own to the array, there is even a circle pattern that someone took the time to construct it looks pretty cool actually!

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WOW what a view!
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Little pillars everywhere!
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Thought this was kinda cool!

The  canyon is huge, and at over 550 meters deep you certainly don't want to fall.  It twists on itself and the Fish River glistens below winding thru the valley, it's not very full at this time of the year and is dry in places.  It is the longest river in Namibia flowing thru the 160km long canyon.  

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View to the north!
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It's a spectacular place!
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View to the south!
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No climbing down!

The rock formations in places look like they have been squashed flat, but it is a geographical tear in the earth formed about 650 million years ago.

The colors change as the sun lowers on the skyline, an array of coppers, tan, dark brown and bronze show in the layers of colorful streaks running thru the canyon walls.  In parts the canyon looks like rough giant  out stretched fingers.

We follow the path along the edge, the rocks look burnt like lava has been dripped to burn perfect spots on earth.

Sparse palm like trees stand lonely in the rocky landscape.

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A lonely sign of life!
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Hope he comes back for us!

Ripple patterns appear on the rock walls below where the river has left it's mark over the millions of years.  This is the second largest canyon in the world and seems to go on forever.  

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Trying not to look down!

In the distance across a plateau that sits in the middle of the canyon mountain peaks stand tall in the hazy skyline.

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Such an amazing landscape!

But it is the view below that captures your attention.  As we follow the path you can't help but look down, the ravine changes with every twist and turn.

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What a fantastic....
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... world we live in!

When we arrive at the lookout point Victor and Ben are there with the truck and other overland groups are there.  

Settled in for our sunset viewing we open our wine and set up our little picnic, and enjoy the evening views.

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Enjoying the view!
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What a way to spend an evening!
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Sunset drinks!
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Great views, great travel companions!

As the sunsets it turns the sky a lovely dusky pink and the canyon seems to glow in the early evening light.

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Another beautiful evening!

The sun sinks on the horizon and the sky glows a bright gold, no matter where you are Africa always puts on a spectacular sunset and this is no exception!

Once the sun disappears we head back to camp, it's been a wonderful afternoon.

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Golden Glow!

When we get back to camp the fire is roaring and Emmanuel has prepared a lovely BBQ dinner.  

Everyone is relaxed and happy and tonight we don't have to worry about getting up early in the morning!

Posted by Tracy87 02:18 Archived in Namibia

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