Today a day off in Sesrium and next to Sossusvlei region with its large sand dunes. This morning I went on a tour organized by the neighboring lodge. Plan was to leave very early, hike around the dunes and then have a good breakfast before returning mid-day. We went with eleven of us from TDA in two vehicles (and additional twenty-five went on a different tour).
The dunes are numbered based on their distances from the Sesrium Gate. There are three dunes tourists normally climb up: dune 45, Big Daddy and Big Mama. We drove past Dune 45 and could see several buses stopped. This is one of the more accessible and more photographed dunes. I got a photograph also to celebrate my brother Tom’s birthday (45) today. However, the tour continued and we went through soft sand for a short while to get close to start of Big Daddy Dune.
Big Daddy dune is 325 meters high (~1000ft) and wasn’t too difficult of a climb. In the steeper bits, you would slide backwards a little but within 45 minutes we had climbed to the top. Stayed at the top briefly before descending down – partially sliding on my bottom, partially running and partially walking down. It was a fun and quick descent. At the bottom was the “Dead Vlei” or salt pans from remains of a lake. We collected there and walked back to our excursion jeeps. After this a fancy picnic breakfast and drive back as it was getting warm. Overall an excellent excursion.
Otherwise just a few rest day chores to wash some clothes (dries very fast here), charge up the electronics and lube my bicycle chain. A relaxing time for rest of the day, though it gets warm here in the desert. I’ve enjoyed the last three days of cycling off-road in Namibia. The scenery is stunning. The temperature swings are big but still not quite as hot as in Sudan. The gravel roads are sometimes filled with soft sand, but still reasonable to ride.
We’ve got five challenging days of off road cycling further here in Namibia. Two of them are “mando” days which are always tough and another is over 150km – so expect to have a tough ride from here to South Africa border (and probably beyond). However, Namibia is definitely on my “top 3 countries” list for this trip (along with Tanzania and Ethiopia).
Also by the way, in addition to celebrating Tom’s 45th birthday, today we also celebrated my 50th birthday and hence the photo at top of this page. Below are some additional photos of the dunes trip.
Unknown crop circles of dead spots.
Sybille takes a photo of Jenny and Erik
Tracks in the sand
Big Daddy Dune
View from top of Big Daddy with Deadvlei below