GUEST ARTICLE: Our drive from the little town of Swakopmund located on the Skeleton Coast to the Sossusvlei took us about 4 hours. The Sossusvlei is in the heart of the Namib Desert. We stayed at the Betesda Lodge located about half an hour the entrance of the park. It was hard to believe anyone could actually set up any type of accommodation out there it really was literally in the middle of nowhere.
Nicknamed the world’s oldest desert, the Namib stretches along the coast of Namibia to form one of the most spectacular and richest deserts in the world. Gently sloping toward the Atlantic Ocean, it is patterned by a sea of giant red sand dunes, some that reach 1000 feet (305 m) high. Because of its long, stable climate over time, a number of species boast ancient origins. Others have evolved unusual adaptations to survive in the extremely harsh environment. – National Geographic
As I got out of the truck to go check in I was almost knocked back on my ass from fear of seeing the biggest bug I’ve ever seen! At first all I saw was this massive ‘thing’ by my foot almost the size of my hand, not so good being a lover of spiders (not!)
With my hand squeezed tightly over my mouth and eyes bulging I had to take a second look before I tried to figure out what the heck it was.
I later found out it was called an Armored Beetle, thankfully not dangerous but there is also no shortage of the lovely creatures…So freaky walking around trying not to step on one..eeek!! Also they have friends, jet black Scarab’s about half their size.
Photos and Satellite Image of Sossusvlei, Namib Desert
The next day we headed to the main attraction, the Sossusvlei. The Sossusvlei has some of the highest, most spectacular sand dunes in the world. It’s really hard to describe the beauty of that place, the colours were absolutely incredible.
The deep blue sky in contrast with yellow grassy fields and deep red dunes was unreal. The clean lines of the dunes and the height were impressive and made for some of the best photos I’ve ever taken.
We decided to drive right into dune territory with our little 4×4. We noticed quite a few people being taken in by locals with some pretty hefty trucks but us being us thought we’d give it a red hot go.
We put her in low and pinned it, about halfway in we found out the reason for the big trucks, the sand was ‘extremely’ deep and at one point I thought we’d had it. Luckily, because of the driver’s expertise driving (wink* wink*) we made it out to more stable land, now the fear was having to go back.
Fortunately after that we were old hands at it and after being shaken around like a couple of bobble heads we made it out safe and sound no worries.
Next we decided to climb ‘Dune #45’. It’s over 170 meters tall and is composed of 5 million year-old sand, pretty cool eh? It was hard going at first but as we neared the top and took in the view… all I can say is WOW! The dunes seemed to go on forever, such an amazing site! Going down was pretty fun, such soft silky red sand!
Well that was the rest of our trip in Namibia, such an incredible place and so much more to explore. This place is a definite must!!
This travel diary has been written by Rob Gower, a friend who enjoys taking the road less traveled!