Departing Windhoek, we headed out on the highway heading South. Any visitor to Namibia will soon learn that the country is vast, places are very spread apart, and drives are LONG! The views are stunning for anyone who lives in a city. About ten minutes after leaving Windhoek, the land seems totally empty of people and the views go on forever. Families need to know that they will be spending many hours at a time in the vehicle, so for families with kids who do not travel well there is always the option of chartering a private flight to all places in the country. But I love to drive, and my kids love road trips.
The Namib is the immense arid south of the country that gives Namibia its name. It ranges from flat and stony to hill country, and to its signature massive coastal sand dunes. We would be exploring all of these.
Stopping along the way for many snacks and drinks, we eventually arrived at our excellent accommodation in the world famous Sossusvlei region.
Today we planned to take an evening horseback ride across the stony desert.
This turned out to be a wonderful experience, though my heart almost stopped when I realized that my cellphone had fallen out of my pocket as we trotted back to base. Luckily, our eagle eyed guide retraced our entire route in about a quarter of the time we had taken to ride it, and he returned triumphantly!
The next morning we were up before dawn and drove to the world famous Sossusvlei dunefield. At the front of the line we had to wait close to an hour until the National Park opened, and then to our surprise we saw that there were other people exploring the park already. Turns out, that if you stay in the national park accommodation (not great), you get to enter before anyone else. Next time!
We drove directly to the furthest point we could, and engaged our 4×4 for the first time to travel the last few km’s. At the car park, we saw the giant dunes right before us, and decided to attempt to climb Big Daddy – the largest of them all.
The climb was hectic. Nobody had come this way yet, and we were blazing a trail through the deep sand. It felt the same as when you wade through deep snow – it yields too much, making every step a challenge. Eitan decided that we should take a shortcut up the steepest incline we could. I didn’t think we could make it but we did and with people now far behind us on the dune, we headed triumphantly to the top! It was an incredible feeling – the first ones up for the day!
We chatted to others now arriving quickly and then we started downhill. It took us about 90 minutes to go up, and about ten minutes to run down. Tons of Fun!
By now the sun was up high, masses of visitors were arriving, and it was time for us to move on!