Namib desert

Saturday 11 November 2017

Another frustrating morning of 6am alarms.And we weren’t leaving until 8am.

All we had to do was move our bags out of the room and back into the truck. And eat breakfast. I just had some oats with water. Wasn’t much else I could eat.

We drove out of Swakopmund, heading south.Through the dunes. Dunes on the left. Ocean on the right.

Walvis Baywas around halfan hour away. Another town in the middle of the dunes. But this one appeared to be a bit more local. Until we reached the lagoon, and there were the fancy large houses.

Atthe lagoon there is the potentialfor thousandsof flamingos.Today was a bit disappointing. It was high tide and therewere only a handful.Probably around 100.They were still pretty.There are two species of flamingo here – lesser and greater.

Just on the edge of townwas a brand new shopping mall complex.It only opened about2 weeks ago. It was huge.And had everything.Severalsupermarkets, all incredibly well stocked.Along witheverytype ofshop – electronics, clothes, camping, alcohol.Strange place for sucha large complex.But it was fun.I stocked up on water, money and a few snacks.Then we were off.Back into the desert.We will now be spending the next few days in the desert.

The Namib- Naukluft Park, is one of the world’s largest national parks – 23,000 sq km of arid and semi-arid land. The dunes are special – they are dynamic, which means that they shift with wind, and are continuously sculpted into a variety of distinctive shapes.

The first part was dunes. But these gave way to more rocky hills. Then slate hills. And the road went right through the middle of them. We stopped at a view point across a valley where there was a dry river. It was pretty.

Once we had passed through these winding roads, surrounding by slate rocks, we were back out into the open. Surrounding by rocky sand and dead trees.

Then the Tropic of Capricorn sign. I had forgotten that we pass by this. So we all got out for some photos. The guys parked the truck behind the sign so that some of the group could climb up for a funny picture.

Then the last few miles to our campsite. Where we arrived at 2pm.

The campsite is cool. Looking out across the sandy plains, with oryx crossing by, and some mountains in the background. It was only us here. The land is a farm – although even after an explanation, I’m still not sure what they farm. So the word ‘farm’ seems to mean a large area of land, that you look after and freely allow wild animals to roam. (Then charge tourists lots of money to stay at your farm, to make money).

I was on kitchen duty, so I had to cut up salad for lunch. Then put up the tent.

Lunch wasn’t too exciting. Only salad for me. I had bought an avocado at the shop earlier in the day, which was lucky.

Then we had a few hours of free time.

It was hot.

I went to the pool. It was only a paddling pool, but it was nice to sit on the edge for a while.

At 5.15pm we headed back out. For a desert walk. Which didn’t turn out to be much of a walk!

The owner of the farm took us on a drive around. We stopped at various places and he explained about the local bush people (who are now largely extinct, as they were seen as animals and could be hunted), as well as how to survive in the desert.

Despite being no water in the desert, there is moisture in the air from the wind which blows from the sea. Therefore it gets damp overnight.

Beetles collect the damp on their bodies and this drains into their mouths. Smaller animals will eat these beetles and get water. Then larger animals will eat those smaller animals. And again get water.

The grazing animals, like the oryx and mountain zebra eat grass in the morning, when it is damp. And get water that way.

We stopped off on a hill for the sunset. We could see all around the flat surrounding area, bordered by dunes on the horizon. It was pretty.

It was dark when we got back. And I hadn’t showered yet. So had to use a torch. I thought I would be cold, having washed by hair. But it still dried surprisingly fast. Despite feeling cold outside.

Dinner was lots of vegetables. Sweet potato, butternut squash and green beans. So good.

After dinner, we headed down to the waterhole.

It was just a small patch of water. But the animals all know it is there. There were a collection of mountain zebra all drinking. Cute. They were very nervous. As soon as there was a noise, they all scattered, before slowly returning.

The zebra also would not drink when an oryx was nearby. One came along, the zebra scattered so the oryx had the pool to himself. The zebra only returned once he had left.


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