Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --- Mark Twain

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Namibia, Sossusvlei

The big red sand dunes of Sossusvlei and Namibia. In case there are somewhere only two postcards on sale, it is very likely that one of them is of Sossusvlei dunes.

It is advised to visit the dunes at sunrise or sunset, as shadows bring out the sharp contours of the dunes, at midday the effect is smaller.

Logistically it is a little more complicated to take pictures during “the best time for photographing “ because the dunes are in the territory of the park and the gates of the park are opened at 6 o'clock at the present time of year, it's an hour before sunrise and are closed at 8 p.m. The ticket is valid for 24 hours and has a relatively reasonable price, 80 Namibian dollars (8 euro).

Before sunset there is still time to visit the Sesriemi canyon.

A view from the top
In the beginning lower down it was also very interesting. High walls on both sides and the sun high above the head. Until the moment that I examined the rock ahead of me and then a thought crossed my mind – that - how come and which way this rock had got there. And then it seemed just the right time to turn back and climb up.

While visiting Sesriemi in the afternoon it is suggested to go to watch the sunset to Elim Dune. It is located near the gate and camp site, a few kilometres away. The sun sets after seven and by eight o'clock one can reach nicely back to the gate.

And to admire the morning sunrise the suggestion is - to drive about 60 kilometres away, as there are "the real truest and best position" of Sossusvlei views. But to arrive at the right place by seven - it is necessary to start not later than 6 o'clock in the morning .There is a good asphalt road of 60 kilometres, indicating that Sossusvlei is an important source of tourism.

I put into my backpack extra batteries for cameras, very necessary items. A half-litre water bottle, a couple of slices of white bread. The clock is set to ring at five o`clock.

At 5 is still pitch dark African night. I make a cup of coffee and take some with me in a thermos flask. And then start to move on. At 6 o`clock there are already a number of vehicles at the gate entrance waiting to be allowed inside and a fast drive begins. The first 60 kilometres is a good asphalt road, the speed limit is 60,

The big road comes to an end with the first parking lot. And no more driving on of your own, at random. Next is a very sandy road of 4 km up to the main sights.

Birds and animals are not allowed to be fed. Understandable – they can get used to it and will depend on the food given by visitors.


The parking place. Further on from here one must use the transport on the national park. At least the day before it was said that "the shuttle" would take to the spot and cars would be in sight as well. Only the drivers have not arrived yet. In the parking lot there is another car and a couple of visitors from South Africa, we discuss whether to start walking on foot or wait. It is almost seven already.

On the other side the colour of the sky is changing redder and redder - the last minutes to the sunrise. The sky is like in Disney`s movie - "The Lion King"

Still no drivers.

The first rays of the sun. So this place really exists.

Finally the drivers reach there and the ticket – selling begins. The car ticket sellers, since the price of the last 4 km of riding is 100 Namibia dollars 10 Euros).

The road is quite sandy. Not just the worst, however, but quite understood that anybody is not allowed to fumble around here.

A view from the car window.

4 kilometres of sandy road and the last parking lot it is. The driver is in the picture as well.

The pathway runs along the edge of the dune - soft and sandy. The sun is rising higher by every minute and the weather gets warmer, or to be more exact hotter.

Climbing up the right side of the Dead Vlei - a valley with the dried acacias is on the right. Eventually the sun's rays reach down here, which means that now is the right time to descend along the side of the sand dune. Shoes will be full of sand, the term "sand in the shoes" will probably remind of Namibia for many years.





The local transport takes us back as well.

On the way back I stop at Dune 45, it is said to be the most photogenic one.

No. 45 means that it located on the 45th kilometre of the Sossusvlei Road. But while climbing up there some other connections with”45” came to my head. As it was probably 45 degrees of heat and it took at least 45 minutes to climb up there. Unless the sides of the dune had not exactly 45-degree angle, but were steep enough.

Halfway up, there is the track - not many chances getting lost. The tree in the picture deep down on the left gives the idea of the height

Almost at the top. Somewhere down there is the bus in the parking lot. Far,far away.


More about prices. The car ticket of driving about in the park cost 10 Namibia dollars or 1 euro. It was quite normal.

No comment.

In the gas station.

Setting the clock – it is customary also in Namibia. But as Namibia is in the Southern Hemisphere, wintertime now begins here now. On the 1st .of April the clocks are turned 1 hour backwards, so that the time zone is UTC +1, and after the winter, on the 1st of September it is changed again.

It is spring here in September and summer is not soon far away.

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