How was your day? I walked at Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei is now becoming well known as one of the most amazing dune scenes in the world. Often claimed to be the 'highest dunes in the world' they are certainly amazing. The dunes reach up to a hight of 220 meters in many places, but drop down to a bare valley strait from these impressive heights.

I have been to Sossusvlei many times. I have been guiding in Namibia for just over ten years (started in March 1998.) In the early days I would be at Sossusvlei every few weeks. Then, in November 2000 I moved to Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge on NamibRand Nature Reserve. Here I started to go to Sossusvlei on a very regular basis. I believe that I have now done about 850 Sossusvlei excursions.

But most of those trips were with guests, and most trips with guests involve doing the 'normal' routes, i.e. a walk to Deadvlei, climbing the dune at Sossusvlei or something like that.

Only a few times did I manage to go on my own or get dropped off by others and explore the dunes for myself.

Today was one of those days. I am trying to spend some time with the guides in order to do a little training. It's just trying to give them little pointers. So today I joined a Sossusvlei trip with Peter (see

I dropped off in the valley. If you have Google earth (if not, you can download google earth for free and it is such fun to use,) you can have a look at the Sossusvlei area. Just type in the gps co-ordinates that I give in my story.

I jumped out the car (24 42'30.23"S,15 33'17.92"E) and went towards Dune 7. It's a long walk towards the other side of the valley, but in that early morning you don't really even notice it.

As I got nearer the river bed (which lies all along the northern side of the valley,) it started to get rather bushy. This was amazing, as the last time I did that walk, a couple years ago, there were almost no larger bushes, and getting to the river bed was easy.

In these bushy washes I found two Aardwolf dens. That was great. The tracks were easy to see, and very easy to recognize.

Then I got on to the river bed itself and the base of Dune 7 (24 41'20.60"s,15 31'41.12"E.) It is really very hard to explain the experience. These dunes are absolutely huge, with huge, huge ridges extending into the river bed. And Sossusvlei, dune 45, Deadvlei, 'Big Daddy' or 'Crazy Dune' are all full of people, and here, not more than three kilometers from the main road, it is quiet. Some of the most amazing dunes all to ones self. I just love it. You know you get pictures nobody else takes. It's great.

So I carried on, past the two 'arms' of Dune 7. I got up on the second one just a little, just enough to enjoy a good run down and take a pic or two with my wife's cellphone (my little point and shoot camera isn't working at the moment.)

From the bottom of Dune 8 (24 41'40.26"S,15 30'35.59"E) I started to walk back to the main road. I was walking quickly, worried that I would hold the guests up. It is such a great feeling to walk out in that open valley, with these huge dunes all around. I got to the main road further west than what I left it (24 43'15.85"S,15 29'04.34"E,) and headed west to the turnoff for Dune 45 (24 43'24.50"S,15 28'10.93"E.) There is a small sign on the road to indicate the speed limit. I sat down right next to it and waited. I had reached there before 10 o'clock and had to wait until well after 11 o'clock before the vehicle would pick me up. Soon I feel asleep. Every time a vehicle passed me, I would wake up. I could imagine what these people thought. This funny guy sleeping in the middle of this open valley without a vehicle or anything.

I got picked up and returned to the lodge. I count this walk as one of the most amazing experiences in my life. If you want to do something like this with me, why not send me an email. It is only a matter of days before Frantic Naturalist Tours and Safaris is up and running. If you are interested in a reservation with us, let us know. Watch our website, we are busy changing it at the moment and should have it up near the beginning of July.
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