Namibia’s Sossusvlei Dunes: a desert paradise

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The sky changed from absolute dark to royal blue, speckled with a milky way of stars spanning from corner to corner in an arc. The sun was rising quicker than my feet could take me, and I was concerned that the peak might become inaccessible in time.

I couldn’t stop since there was a continual stream of people behind me. It was too tight for anyone to pass through, and we were on the sand. Despite the fact that I was taking one step back for every two strides forward, an inner voice pushed me to persevere, just as it did when I climbed Rinjani.

I pulled off my socks and proceeded barefoot through the incredibly smooth sand, and the foot massage energized me so much that I quadrupled my speed. After heaving and puffing my way to the top of Dune 45 in the Namib Desert, I plunged in and watched in astonishment as the sun began to peek over the hills. I was the second person to reach the summit and secured an ideal placement just in time.

When I first saw images of this location, I vowed to myself that I would visit it one day. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s something wonderful about the desert’s calm and barrenness.

As I examined the grandeur in all ways, my first time in a sandy desert, I felt exhilarated by the picture spreading before me.

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The hues of the dunes changed based on the angle of the light and the direction of the dune. The orange intensified as the sun climbed higher in the sky, bouncing off the desert as it transitioned from one color scheme to another.

This is unquestionably a bucket list item. If you don’t believe you enjoy sweets, try this one on for size.

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The crowd began to thin out when the sun had fully risen.

I glanced the other way as they dropped, looking for a vista I could appreciate alone.

It didn’t take long to get to the dunes directly below Dune 45, which were peppered with kudu hoof tracks and were still modestly shaded. I took a step back, and the final individual was gone, leaving me with a 360-degree vista.

If you find yourself in the Namib Desert, make this a priority. Being surrounded by sand giants was awe-inspiring.

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After descending Dune 45, it was time to board the jeeps and travel to another dune. No visit to Sossusvlei, Namibia would be complete without visiting the famed acacia trees of Deadvlei (English “dead” and Afrikaans “vlei” meaning “swamp” combining to form “dead marsh”).

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When he detailed ascending the next dune, the jeep driver grinned, a silver star placed in one of his front teeth (a popular fashion statement there). It is known as “Big Daddy” since it stands 350 meters tall.

You may avoid ascending this dune by going over the dry salt flats to the acacia trees, although I found it to be simpler than Dune 45. It wasn’t as steep, and many others had compacted the sand and left lovely footsteps for me to tread in before me.

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In addition, you get a spectacular view:

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Just slide (barefoot preferable) down the edge of the dune to reach the ‘dead swamp’ from the top.

The sand is beneficial to your feet!

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As the neighboring Tsauchab River flooded, producing small ponds, these renowned trees grew. When the climate changed, the area experienced drought and sand dunes, cutting off all water supplies.

The surviving trees are dead, yet their scorched black skeletons continue standing after 900 years owing to the drought.

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I liked how the branches reached out ominously toward the sun.

Even though these trees are no longer alive, they appear to have personality and vitality.

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I fled after midday when the desert warmed up and the ground got too hot to walk on. It was just my third day in Namibia, but it was already a promising portent of things to come.

Have you been here before? Do you want to come? Do you ever find yourself thinking, “Hey, sow trees! (That was because I was).

Travel companions:

At Dune 45, self-driving is feasible with a 4×4 and is easily accessible from the road. I have personally done a Safari trip with Acacia Africa.
Practical suggestions:

  • Hiking or even running shoes are ineffective on the sand dunes. Because the sand is so tiny, it gets into your shoes and weighs you down. In the morning, the sand is still too cold to burn your feet, so wear socks or walk barefoot.
  • Follow in someone else’s footsteps. They’ve already softly compacted the sand with their weight, resulting in a better footing and less chance of backward sliding.
  • Bring a hat or anything to shield your face from the sun Because it’s hot!
  • Dawn is a popular time to visit the dunes, although most visitors just remain for a few minutes before returning to their automobiles. If you take your time and travel farther up the dune, you will have lots of beautiful vistas to yourself.

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I have been living in Southeast Asia for over five years and I love to share my experiences on this blog. You will find stories about my daily life, as well as my travels around the world. From exotic tastes to stunning views and funny encounters from across the globe, join me on my amazing journey at www.theladyontheroad.com

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