First goal of our three weeks travel through Africa was national park Namib – Naukluft, which is the biggest protected area in Namibia and eight biggest in the world. It is ecologically protected area of the oldest desert in the world – Namib Desert that touches Atlantic Ocean on west side. Where desert meets ocean. How crazy is nature´s sense of beauty 🙂 .
Part of national park is Sossusvlei, salt and clay pan, surrounded by wonderful red dunes and crazy, funky, surrealistic landscape Deadvlei which is wish-come true for everyone who loves nature and photography.
Journey from Windhoek to National Park Namib – Naukluft is long and we cut it with spending the night in Namibgrens and we don´t regret it as surroundings of camps were really beautiful, one of the most beautiful on our entire travel. After wonderful first night under African stars, we continued our trip towards the oldest desert in the world.
We stopped in town Solitaire and indulge in really tasteful apple pies.
We reached national park in early afternoon so we first went to Sesriem Canyon, which was great surprise and offered nice chill.
And then Sossusvlei, wonderful clay pan elliptical shape surrounded by orange-red dunes. One of the most well-known is Dune 45 which is also the most photographed one. But as we prefer solitude more than touristic sites, we went a little further and enjoyed alone in red dunes of the oldest desert in the world. Luckily, we were not all alone, as there was one really beautiful Oryx. First time meeting wild animal is always something special 🙂 .
The peak of exploring Namib Naukluft National Park was Deadvlei.
Deadvlei is white clay pan at the end of Sossusvlei National park and is surrounded by the highest dunes in the world, called Big Daddy. It is best to go to Big Daddy dunes early in the morning. Being able to do so, you have to stay in camp inside national park (NWR Sesriem camping site). It is prohibited to hang around park at night but the gate opens one hour before sunrise (5.45 a.m.) and it is best to be there at that time as there is 60 km drive from the gate of camp to Deadvlei. For the last two kilometers the road is actually deep sand that you can cross only with 4x4WD vehicle. And it is hard even with 4×4 car and many of those not used driving in such conditions, stuck in the sand. Of course NWR employees will help you (for a price), but in that case you will miss the most beautiful morning light and silence of unrealistic pan with the most photogenic trees in the world. We managed the road ourselves, but if you are not such adventurers and you really don´t want to miss Deadvlei in morning sun – you can take organized tour for the last part of the road.
At 6.45 (after an hour drive) we started half an hour long walk towards Deadvlei and caught it in the sun. It was quite, without tourists, when the first wonderful light crossed surrealistic landscape that we´ve wanted to see for so long. It is really worth getting up early, because at 9-10 a.m., when we were already going back, crowd of tourists started to come.
On our way back we climbed on part of Big Daddy dune, but now we would turn order. The biggest sandpit for small and big kids 🙂 and great overture in African adventure.