Dessert and Dunes
Ok, the day started at 5am and we headed straight for sand dune 24 or 48- the number eludes me right now but it was scary looking!
It was far steeper than yesterday’s sunset one and the ridge that I, and about 50- 100 other tourists, had got up to walk across was narrow to say the least. My pictures from this bit of the tour are pretty spectacular. It was also bloody freezing and windy but still we began this awesome climb. It was tricky, when you stopped to rest for a moment as you had to stand as far left or right of the ridge as possible to you could let other people pass but on several occasions I either helped some poor person who began to slip dangerously quickly down the dune or was grabbled by someone myself. I am also not somebody who is suffers with vertigo but on a couple occasions after looking down at how far we were up my legs went to jelly and my head went a bit funny.
I reached a point where some from our group had stopped to appreciate the sunrise – and it was beautiful. There is something about the desert and red sand that made this sunrise particularly special. After this we had to think about getting down and then before I knew I was doing some insane moonwalk down this stupidly steep sand dune. I think controlling your speed was the key here- I watched enough crazy guys attempting to run down and then realising the momentum was so powerful they actually couldn’t stop so they ended up tripping and rolling or there legs going at an insanely fast speed. Very funny!
When we got back to the bus we had a lovely cooked breakfast and hot cup of tea to warm our selves up. After this we headed towards the place where we were to begin a 5km walk through the sand dunes!! Well call me a wus but I really didn’t fancy my chances with this one, walking up F- off sand dunes for 5 km and so I opted out. The only problem with this was that I would have to wait 2 hours for them at the end point. However, luck would have it that my wait was actually quite interesting. First I managed to get dropped off at a big sand dune for an hour – I really enjoyed climbing – then I was picked up by the guys doing the shuttle. They amused themselves by teaching me swear words in Afrikaans and then collapsing in hysterics when I said them out loud and I amused myself when they let me drive the sand buggy up and down.
When the guys returned from their walk- well lets say I have never seen such a red, sweaty and exhausted bunch. They said it was extremely hard and made harder by the fact they had gone over time and the heat of the desert was killing!!
We got back to the campsite and the tour leaders made lunch, most people just flaked out and read books and after lunch we headed for a tour of a cannon. It was interesting, we saw lots of frog including a mummified frog and mouse and three Horned Viper Snakes which we were told to stay away from – yet the enthusiastic photo takers (specifically a guy called Paul who owned and used the hugest zoom lens I have ever seen on the game drive trip) decided the a good picture was more important that heeding the warning, but he came away unscathed.
I think people expected to then go back to the campsite and rest but suddenly we arrived at the same sand dune we had climbed the night before. As the bus stopped and the door opened everyone kind of looked at each other in disbelief and nobody got up out of their seats until the first reluctant person used all his strength and shuffled off the bus. A few people reluctantly followed but many people flat refused to move – not surprising after walking up a killer sand dune and 5 km walk in the heat of the desert! As the doors closed a couple of people suddenly realised others were not getting off the bus and hammered on the doors the be let back in. I felt so sorry for the guys who hadn’t realised they did have a choice and when they were picked up 2 hours later they didn’t look too amused.
The next morning was freezing, all of us squeezed around the campfire as long as we could before having to get back on the bus. We headed back to Windhoek stopping again at the apple pie place and various other stops to arrive back at the airport to catch our plane to Cape town. Coincidently there were 6 of us from the trip who were getting the flight so we travelled together and they were: Anna, a lovely Dutch woman who was catching a connection to Holland and The French couple Paul (mr photo opportunity) and his life and Francoise and there friend. They also were staying in Cape Town for a while too.