The Namib Desert!

It is early early morning, well before dawn.
In the pitch dark the gate to the desert opens.

A game ranger checks the registration number of your car
and counts the number of people in it.
(To make sure all have returned safely at the end of the day.)

We are already in the Namib Naukluft Park,
but there are still about 2 hours to drive before reaching the
middle of the Dunes. Some are the highest in the world!
300 metres of sand, sand ,sand.
The desert night is cold. I sit in the car
wearing a thick jacket and look out of the window
through sleepy eyes.
The world seems to consist of only a strip of road
revealed by the headlights. All around is blackness.
Not even a glow on the horizon.
Slowly, surprisingly, the dawn reveales the desert.

By the time we reach the famous Dune 45,
the sky is a little lighter and there are already
people, like ants, climbing the dune.
There is a sea of dunes, 30 million years old and spread over
32 500 square kilometres and you can explore anywhere,
but this dune is the closest to the road and the highest,
so everybody climbs here.
It's fun to climb with people of many different nationalities,
but some are selfish.
"Don't walk there! I am taking a photo!"
or "Don't walk in front of me! I have to be the first."
Whose dune is it anyway?
But most people stop at the top of the first dune
so all the rest are just for me!
The sun is rising. Walking slowly on the perfect edge of
an untouched dune is a wonderful feeling.
(Am I selfish too?)

It's just sand and sky, but so beautiful!
As the sun climbs, it changes the color
of the sand and the shadows on the dunes.
The wind makes patterns on the sand
and crossing these are footprints of insects, lizards and small animals...
The sky is becoming bluer and its
contrast with the sand clearer, sharper.
Grey, blue, pink, violet, red, orange, brown...
from moment to moment the desert is changing
and I can't get bored looking at it.
I feel like I can walk here for ever.

B U T !
Before you realize, the sun is already high in the sky
and your car is far away.
Your shoes are full of sand which is getting hotter
and even your jacket which you are now carrying is too hot to carry.
It's fun to run down a dune, but to climb up
is another story. Take 3 steps and you slide down 2.
It's so hot
but the walk was worth it!
If you have walked long enough, you'll find yourself in the dead vlei.
This is an ancient forest of dead trees in the middle of the sand.
Weird, twisted, white shapes, eternally
baking in the sun until they are hard like rock.
It doesn't seem to belong on our planet; a mysterious, amazing place.

This stone isn't from space, it was created by the desert!
Centuries of sand and wind carved this
curious pattern on it.
I found a skull. Some animal died in the desert and only it's skull survives.
I met a gemsbok family that lives in the desert.
Read about them here!
I also found a piece of very old ostrich egg shell.
The desert is a treasure box full of surprises!

This is the piece of egg.
I carved a gemsbok at the waterhole.
A small souvenir from the Namib.

Join our tour to Namibia in May!
Click here to find out the details!
We plan to get really close to animals and nature!

(See last weeks story and others here.)

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