After an overnight stay at Chameleon Backpackers following our trip to Etosha National Park, we hit the road again. This time, we were off to Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert. This desert is the oldest desert in the world. We passed several ‘towns’ on our off-road drive there. I use the word town loosely because I’m pretty sure some of them only had a couple of houses; if you blinked you would miss it.
We checked in at Desert Camp just before sunset. Our room has sweeping views of the mountains and my roommate and I lounged in bed, watching the sun set from our windows before heading to a group dinner with our guide. We left at 6am the next morning to get into the park early again. From the town of Sesriem, where we were staying, it’s about a 40 minute drive to get to the famous Sossusvlei. We parked and hopped into a 4 wheel drive ‘taxi’ if you will call it for a 2 minute drive through the sand. It was then time to hike up to Dead Vlei, the place that inspired my whole trip to Namibia to begin with. I saw an image of the clay pan with these mysterious looking trees set against a brilliant orange and blue backdrop two years ago. We trekked through the sand while listening to facts about the Namib Desert from our guide. Of course, we had our goofy moments along the way.
Dead Vlei meaning ‘dead marsh’ is a clay pan surrounded by enormous sand dunes. It contains camel thorn trees that have been dead for about 900 years due to lack of water. The trees aren’t petrified but are dark in color as a result of the intense sun. We spent about 30 minutes wandering around and taking photos.
After Dead Vlei, we went to a picnic area to have lunch and rest in the shade. We had to gear up for trekking up Dune 45 next.
There are plenty of sand dunes in the park that you can climb, however, Dune 45 is the most popular. We passed it on our way to Dead Vlei and there were loads of tourists there, so we saved it for the afternoon. At this point, we were the only ones heading up the dune so it was a wise choice. After dragging ourselves to the top, two of the people on the tour, along with our tour guide, decided to race down the side of Dune 45. Of course, the guide beat the other guys down by a long shot! I slowly made my way down the side, pausing to make a ‘snow angel’ in the sand. I was already covered in sand, so what’s the harm in rolling around in it, right?
We made a short stop to climb down Sesriem Canyon and then made our way back to Desert Camp for a little rest. Before dinner we took a 10 minute walk near our camp to watch the sunset.
The next day we drove back to Windhoek, stopping in Solitaire on the way. This ‘town’ (again very small) developed around a gas station. It has a guesthouse and a bakery where you can sample Namibia’s best apple strudel made by Moose the baker. It was a giant piece and really tasty! The bakery is also rumored to have good bread. We made it back to Windhoek in the early afternoon. It was a fantastic trip and I hope you enjoy some more photos from it!
If you are interested in the Dunes & Wildlife Tour with Chameleon Safaris, click here.
To read about the first part of the tour in Etosha National Park, click here.
And finally, to read about accommodation at Chameleon Backpackers, click here.