Today is a special day for me, as it not only is my birthday, but also the day we are spending as much time as possible in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, and more specifically in the Sossusvlei.
As the Vlei is at its prettiest right after sunset, we have to get up really early to eat breakfast before we head into the park. And breakfast starts at 05:30 around here, so no sleeping in for me today! The gate to the National Park opens at sunset (06:15) which was delayed for unknown reasons to 06:30, but after that we were off! The nicest Vlei is situated 65kms from the gate, and is called Deadvlei, where a Vlei is decorated with dead trees. This is very scenic, and quite possibly the nicest looking place around here.
To get to this place, you need to travel the 65km on a tarred road (with the single road loading to the NP being untarred!) to a regular parking lot where you can embark on the epic 5 km of 4×4 track, or pay a small fee to be transported to the first of two parking lots. This is also the starting point for a short but strenuous hike over loose sand to Deadvlei. Today was a lucky day for me, as temperatures around here regularly hit 40 degrees Celsius, but they never rose over 25 making it really comfortable to walk without being scorched to a crumble in the valleys.
Visiting the different Vleis in the park takes quite some time, and combined with the small number of vehicles transporting tourists over the 4×4 track and the 2 hours wasted by waiting for a ride back, the day was advancing rapidly and before we knew it, it already was time to head back to our tent at Desert Camp and get ready for diner. As night falls really quickly around here, that is about the only thing to do besides having drinks at the bar. 🙂
Tomorrow, we already have to leave this place, and head up north, to Swakopmund. Another 330kms of untarred roads await our Duster, and I’m really looking forward to it!