Namibia - Round The World Tour 2003 Day 38

Sossusvlei

Saturday 19th April

We are really getting into the tour now on our second night in Namibia. The feeling of adventure travel is brought home with campfires and long, arduous drives through the desert. Anxious not to repeat the fresh milk fiasco that was still fresh in my mind from yesterday, I asked our tour leader to cook some eggs for breakfast so that I would at least get to eat something. His immediate reaction was that this was not possible due to the carefully calculated rationing of food supplies, especially since it is difficult to replenish supplies due to the Easter break. A few minutes later, however, he took me to one side and told me that he was going to boil a couple of eggs for me after all. Strangely enough, we’ve had numerous experiences with South Africans answering questions put to them with a ‘no’ initially before reversing their answer just moments later. This has happened several times and we think it’s just one of the mannerisms of the South African people. Whatever the case, I did get a couple of boiled eggs, which put me in a good mood straight away. One egg did go missing almost straight away, however, whilst my back was turned as one of the women in our group picked one up thinking that it was a free for all. She gave it back and apologised after realizing that they were mine but I eventually convinced her to have a half an egg as she was really craving one. There has been much of this kind of ‘bonding’ between the group members over the past few days and it continues.

After packing up the tents and loading up the truck, we were off up North through Namibia through the desert on a nine-hour drive. It was an early start to the day as everyone was up and active pretty much by six o’clock. We learnt later that it was actually five o’clock as Namibia is an hour behind South Africa. I’m not quite sure why but we seem to be going to sleep earlier and rising earlier here in Africa. Perhaps it is the lack of television and other distractions and our internal body clocks are reverting back to their natural state, following the day and night cycle.

Sandy did not enjoy the drive up here today. She was borderline nauseous for much of the time and is only just tolerating the long drives through nothingness. We did stop a few times and saw some interesting things such as birds, small game and some spectacular scenery but otherwise the trip was largely uneventful. We are all getting into the habit of stocking up on water, alcohol, chocolate, biscuits, etc. whenever we stop with a convenience store close by.

We arrived late in the afternoon at the camp-site, which is truly in the middle of the desert. The camp-site itself is nothing more than a few trees under which our tents are sheltered from the heat of the midday sun - a good thing too since the temperatures here get up above forty degrees Celsius during the day.

Our tour guide gave us a rundown of all the dangerous spiders and scorpions and such that roam around in the sand beneath our feet. It will be an interesting night for several members of our group that have phobias for such things.

A brief dip in the rather small swimming pool was a welcome refresher and we ate a nice dinner of beef stew and pasta. Since neither of us eats pasta, they boiled some potatoes for the two of us in lieu. We had notified the travel agent in Cape Town of our aversion to pasta and this was duly registered with the tour staff. They also accommodate the vegetarians in the group with alternatives to meat during each meal. Even with the limited subset of foods that Sandy and I eat, we have been very well catered for so far as far as food goes. It could certainly have been a lot worse than it is.

Tomorrow we are off to dune forty-five. All the dunes here are numerically identified and tomorrow’s dune is one of the highest so it should make for some fantastic photography. We are also going to be taking on a guided walk of the dunes with a local guide. It will be a very early start with a five o’clock wake up call as we are going to be watching the sunrise atop the dune. This should be nice. Apparently, we are also going to enjoy champagne on top of the truck at sundown so that should also be a nice treat for us.

With a couple of power outlets here at the camp-site, I’ve managed to charge all the laptop and camera batteries again so we are good for another few days at least. So far, we’ve been extremely fortunate to have power available somewhere every night. I charged the laptop and the remaining couple of camera batteries at the bar with half the group, this evening so it has become a very late night and is now almost midnight (not much sleep for me tonight).

I was going to sleep on top of the truck tonight to get a good look at the stars that are out in full force but a couple of others in the group beat me to it and there was no more room on top of the truck tonight. I will get my turn tomorrow night. Sandy is less adventurous (and probably would not tolerate the cold anyway) and so will sleep alone in the tent tomorrow night.

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