African shoestrings – Namibia Day Fifty eight – Namib desert
The Desert is inhospitable place when it’s sunny & hot, when it’s raining and windy and still hot it’s pretty much the same. We had a day and a night to kill before our next booked accommodation at Sesriem (I’ll get to that later) so we found an obscure camping ground called Betheseda on the way and put up the tent ready to just relax. Our ‘neighbour’ was a young Uni. student called Jane who looked like she was here to stay for a long time, judging on the permanency of her tent and the number other occupants like dogs, chickens and turkeys who were obviously quite at home in an around her tent.
I checked out the swimming pool thinking that a swim and a doze by the side would wile away a couple of hours. Unfortunately it was empty.
Oh well, we’ll just crash by the tent I thought. Well the only thing that crashed was the weather. A thunderstorm came from nowhere and within minutes we were sitting inside the tent hoping our weight would prevent it from taking off and listening to those big drops of rain peppering the canvas walls. Finally we risked leaving the tent when the thunderstorm moved on but now the wind had changed direction and was a hot gusty son of a bitch which made everything dusty and uncomfortable and didn’t ease up until nightfall (at least we got a peaceful night’s sleep).
One of the disappointing things about budget travelling is the amount of planning you have to do! Having left a career that incorporates planning as an essential tool, I had sort of hoped that we wouldn’t need to do it much. The trouble is if you don’t plan then you could go wrong and miss out on something worth seeing or experiencing or possibly have to wait for another chance which means that you may be in the wrong place to sit around and then get bored and spend money!
For example we had to plan how much time we spent in Swakopmund so that we can get back to Windhoek to catch the tour to Botswana and get dropped off in Victoria Falls and then we have to decide how much time we spend in Zimbabwe, before getting to Malawi and Tanzania etc etc. But I guess it’s a lot better than having to plan what I’m going to say at the next Sales Meeting about sales for the month, strategies, KPI’s, WCA’s and other ‘exciting’ topics.
Back on the road again and the rain had left big lakes of water covering the gravel road. We (I say we but it was really me, Sue got out of the car to watch) managed to navigate through two of the three consecutive temporary water holes without mishap. The last one was a bit scary as the car began to slow the deeper it got but ‘Peter Brock’ here was equal to the challenge.
Sossusvlei is arguably, Namibia’s greatest natural attraction. It’s basically a 32,000 square kilometre area of sand dunes in the Namib Desert. But that doesn’t do it justice. Some of the world’s largest and most spectacular dunes are found here and Sossusvlei is merely the most accessible site. The German word vlei means pan and that is what Sossusvlei is, a huge dry pan set amongst 200 metres high dunes 69 kilometres from the civilization.
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