Before the trip, I did my normal amount of research about the destination. Normally I use everything from guide books to other people’s blogs to find interesting things to see while I am traveling. Mind you, I do not follow anyone else’s path, or even their advice. But it is good to have some small clues about where we are going.
Every once in a while I find a factoid that makes me go, HMMMM. In the case of Namibia, I found out on Wikipedia that second only to Mongolia, Namibia has the lowest population per sq. mile on the planet.
One word came to mind as we drove across the middle of Namibia, desolated.
Another quick HMMMM. The first European settlers in Namibia were Germans. That makes for good beer. More interestingly is that they brought the Lutheran religion to Namibia and converted a majority of the natives. I surmise therefore that there are more black Lutherans in Namibia than the rest of the planet put together.
However Namibia is full of surprises and wonderful places to see.
One of those fantastic places, in fact one of the most fantastic places I have ever seen in my travels over six continents is Sossusvlei. Don’t worry, I heard it pronounced many times and I still cannot get it right.
This is just one of the hundreds of huge red sand dunes of Sossusvlei. Our guide explained to us that these dunes are formed by the wind blowing sand out of a seasonal river that has a high percentage of iron and the pink to red colors are a consequence of the oxidation processes. The oldest dunes are those of a more intense reddish color. These dunes are among the highest in the world; many of them are above 200 metres
This is the Sossusvlei pan. It is the lowest spot in the area and in the rainy season it will flood. Sources tell me that many species of birds, some endemic, come here then.
These are dead acacia trees on the pan with a giant dune proving the backdrop.
My wife climbing Dune 45. This dune is close to the road, not too steep and is a popular spot to stop, have a snack, and pound some sand.
However, yours truly enjoys solitude.
As we exited Sossusvlei our guide pointed out a strange phenomenon that I had been staring at.
Over hundreds of acres there are thousands of these “Fairy Circles”. Nothing grows in them. Nothing planted in one survives. Legends abound about what made them and why. Some tribal legends say that dragons live underground and when they breathe fire, they make a fairy circle. I happen to like the theory that they are somehow extra-terrestrial in origin. Of course some scientists came to study them and they had to find some theory they could publish without looking foolish in a peer review. So they said the were caused by termites. They never found any termites. They could not explain the perfect circular shape, or why this is the only place on earth it happens, but hey, your tax dollars at work, huh?
As we drove away from the dunes and the fairy circles, we needed gas and a meal. The only place for either and both came along just in time.
A long way from Sossusvlie, in fact, along way from anywhere is Solitaire. As you can see, the population is booming.
Yes, Solitaire has been here a while.
Besides the gas station, which I figure you do not need a photo of, the only place in Solitaire is this very popular snack spot. Moose is a very old Scotchman who has lived here almost forever. His claim to fame is the best apple pie in town. Ahh, lets make that the best apple pie in Namibia. It was excellent.
We stayed a couple of nights in a marvelous “Soft Adventure Camp” called Namib Naukluft. This lodge is located in a 25,000 hectare private game preserve. I gave these guys top ratings on trip adviser because they treated us so very well, and the food was beyond good. The meats were always game meat. We ate Springbok, and Kudu among others. Kudu tasted the best, and they are the most beautiful of all the antelopes I saw in Africa.
After I saw a Kudu in the wild, I could not eat them again. They are regarded as the best of the game meat. They are not endangered or anything like that. They are just so magnificent. The same thing for Springbok. After you see them skipping across the bush, carefree and happy, you decide to either become a vegan , or stick to cow meat.
We saw a few excellent sunsets.
We were treated to sundowners.
Another look at a sunset with a little help from my trusty Nikon
We left the Namid desert, sadly. It was a wonderful visit. Our destination was a beach town called Swakopmund. Again, you can pronounce it as you wish, because I cannot pronounce it the way the locals do.
Swakopmund is a vacation spot. Very many restaurants of all types. Leave it to me to find a Mexican restaurant in Africa.
I was seriously disappointed. I do not think the chef had ever eaten a taco in his life.
This classy lady in Swakopmund is a member of a tribe I cannot pronounce or spell, but honestly it sounds sort of like “the oprah winfree tribe”. The reason for the hat style? Glad you asked. Her tribe does not trim the horns on their cattle, so they have adopted this milliners dream Really. She probably has an Iphone in her purse.
I did not walk under this window.
We took a day trip. We visited a huge seal colony.
We saw an awful lot of flamingos.
We also had a few of the local beers, brewed to German standards. Hmmm good.
My wife and our guide in Walvis bay, where I ate so many fresh oysters that I started crapping pearls!
Our guide for Namibia was a guy named Berron. He was excellent. He works for ATI Holidays. I highly reccomend ATI, be sure to ask for Berron. I want to go back to Namibia, I saw so very little of it.
Thanks for reading. Next post??? The one and only magnificent Victoria Falls!
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Tags: ATI Holidays, Dune 45, Gap Adventrures, Kudu, Namibia, Sakopmund, Solitaire Namibia, Sossusvlei