One of the sights in Namibia that we were the most excited to see was the Namib Desert at Sossusvlei. We’ve never been to a desert before and the closest we’ve ever come to dunes were the red ones in the Kgalagadi so it goes without saying that we looked forward to getting to Sesriem and to see the dunes. The stretch between Keetmanshoop and Sesriem were very long and we’ll definitely plan differently for our next trip to Namibia.
|Happy Campers Namibia 2017 – Travel log Day 7 & 8|
|Type of lodging||Camping (unfenced)|
|Water at site||Yes|
|Kilometers travelled||661 km|
|Diesel top-up||74.77lt – R838-00|
We took the B1 heading towards Mariental but halfway there our GPS suggested we take a turn off towards Gibeon on a gravel road that took us to the C19 via the D1088 and the D1112. I don’t think we saved a lot of time but I do think that we shaved off approximately 60 kilometers of the distance, which is great if you’re traveling on mostly gravel roads. The C19 took us through the Tsaris Mountains via the Tsaris-Hoogte Pass, also known as Tsaris Pass or Zarishoogte Pass. It’s a a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.630m (5,347ft) above the sea level and the views are absolutely breathtaking. The road is pretty steep, with an average gradient of 6% but over the 20% in parts. It wasn’t a challenging pass to travel through but I can imagine that it will become quite tricky or even impossible to do after some rain storms.
We arrived at Sesriem by 15:00 in the afternoon after which it was time to set-up camp and to get the campfire going for dinner. The next morning would be an early one as we were planning on going into Sossusvlei at 05:00. One of the perks of staying at the Sesriem camp site is that you get to go in an hour earlier than visitors who stay outside of the park, and when you’re chasing the sunrise over Dune 45, that extra hour makes a huge difference. The idea is to get to the dune early enough so that you can go up to the summit and perch yourself with your camera, ready to shoot when the sun sticks out his face. We got there in time but sadly our morning was a very cloudy one so our pics had a lot of clouds in it but it did make for some spectacular shots of the sun rays coming through the clouds. The dune is also known as Big Daddy, and it was named Dune 45 because it’s exactly 45 kilometers from the entrance gate. You travel on a tar road all the way down to the parking area before the start of the 4×4-only section.
We also went further along the road till we got to the parking area, where it was time to deflate the tyres before we took on the desert sand. Needless to say, the Toyotas did not disappoint and we reached the Deadvlei parking area without a hitch. The kilometer or so trek over the dunes to get to Deadvlei was a completely different story! It was so hard to walk across the dunes, I couldn’t complete the trek but the rest of the family made it and they came back full of awe and wonder about the dead trees they saw in the pan.
By the time we got back to the camp site, it was scorching hot so we decided it was time to go hang out at the camp site pool area for a bit. The water was amazing but we got hit with a huge sandstorm so that ended the swimming expedition for us. Needless to say, the camp site was also in the midst of the sand storm so we ended up going to the bar and restaurant area to have a beer and to catch up on news from the outside world. This was the first that we’ve had WiFi reception since we left Van Zylsrus so we checked in with friends back home to let them know that we’re safe and sound. Turns out there was a huge earthquake in Botswana during the previous days so everyone wanted to know if we were fine and unharmed. Learning moment ensues, as we explained to everyone that we were quite some distance away from the earthquake, and that we were being terrorized by sand storms instead.
That evening we had an amazing potjiekos dinner. The night before we had two jackals coming up to our braai but the second night was quiet on the wildlife front. Everything was covered in sand and dust and we knew that we would have to find some proper water supply to clean our trailer and tent, as the sand storm did a proper number on us. We got up very early the next morning and packed up our camp site. We knew it was going to be another long day on the road down to Aus and Klein Aus Vista so we didn’t want to leave Sesriem too late.
We would love to go see the desert again, but this time round we’ll most probably go to the Swakopmund area. Sossusvlei and Sesriem was very special to visit though and I doubt if anyone can leave this area without being touched by the beauty of those magnificent dunes.
Just some quick info on the camp site, we stayed at camp site no 36 and we had both water and power supplied right to the camp site. It was also close to ablutions and a short walk away from the swimming pool. The camp site had a huge tree that provided ample shade against the hot Namib sun. We found the ablutions to be neat and clean, and the showers were spacious. Nothing bad to report here.