We woke up super excited as our next stop was going to be one of the top destinations in Namibia, a place I have seen in many magazines and heard about loads, Dune 45. The darker rocky mountains gave way to sand dunes as we drove on, the landscape changing yet again. Our accommodation in Sesriem was only a couple of kilometres from the famous Dune 45. We made a quick stop at the entrance and asked about opening hours and payment, then went to the only fuel station for the next 200km, filled up and bought some snacks.
We arrived at our lodge where the plan was that my parents would stay in a room and Triin and I were going to camp, but after the uncomfortable evening in the tent plus the fact that it was even colder here at night, we quickly enquired about another room. Luckily they still had some rooms left and we shared a kitchen with my parents on the first night. Because we arrived in the early afternoon we decided to relax, so Triin and I helped ourselves to some beers and wifi (yay!) in the lodge’s lounge area. Whilst chilling out (and trying desperately and unsuccessfully to connect to the internet) we ended up having a long conversation with four Australians who were also doing a roadtrip from Namibia to South Africa. It’s always nice to chat with fellow travellers.
We had an early night in order to leave early next day to avoid the heat as we climb the sand dunes. So in the morning, after a speedy breakfast, we rushed to the dunes (about 45 min drive). On the way to the tallest dune of 325 metres called The Big Daddy we also passed Dune 45 which seemed tiny in comparison. Once there we paid a fee to be taken to The Big Daddy and Death Valley. The road consisted of fine sand, hence the reason we had to take a 4×4 bus-taxi-truck. The weather had turned into providing us with showers of misty rain and cold breeze – not quite like the desert experience we had anticipated. It was actually quite cold. Still optimistic with my shorts and flip flops, I went to pay for the ride to the Dune. My parents then decided that it was too cold and wet for them to go and that they would wait for us in the car park. Triin reluctantly decided to still join the climb although a much easier and more comfortable option would’ve been to not go. But when do we get another chance to climb this massive pile of sand???
We waited for our ride and even saw one person who tried to brave the sandy road and got stuck literally 10 metres from where they had started. The ride there was freezing and very bumpy but I was quite certain that it would get warmer later when it stopped lightly raining and that it was probably just cold because it was 8am. There had been no real plan about the dune because I had never seen photos or anything of the Big Daddy Dune, my dad had just told me there was a place called Death Valley and a large dune next to it.
Once arrived we were told there were two ways to walk to Death Valley, just over a tiny dune or up a bigger one and the Valley would be to your right. I decided on the bigger one, obviously, so we started climbing up and up and up, Dune 45 is 170m high whilst Big Daddy is 325m.
Imagine the dune as three levels going from low to high, the highest point being 325m. A lot of people walk up the first one and then slide down it to Death Valley. That had been my idea as well, until an elderly man who could barely bend his knees struggling with his walking sticks walked past us. He climbed the first level, then sat down and slid down to the valley. Inspired, and much to Triin’s dismay, I decided to go on to the second level.
So something you should know about my wife, though she does like walking, the main requirement is that it needs to be flat. We have walked 20km in London, so she is very capable, as long as it’s not a mountain or as I found out, a sand dune. As she’s swearing her way up the sand dune, I keep walking more up and up “dragging” her further up the sand dune, evil aren’t I? The views were amazing though, imagine being surrounded by sand dunes, it was magic. Just look at the photos! Something that did make the walk tough was that it never got warmer. I heard a tour guide speak to someone later saying that he had never experienced such a cold day in September, it was about 12 degrees. Still I don’t think I would have made it to the top in 30 degrees heat, so happy days, definitely worth the climb. Funnily enough Triin said as soon as she saw the massive sand dune she knew that I would want to climb it, see she knows me better then I know myself, plus he fact that she still went with me shows how much she loves me.
At about lunch time we finally got back to my parents, who had taken a few mini walks around there and patiently waited for us. We were so happy when we got back especially because there was still some warm tea left. We started driving back and stopped at Dune 45 to take some photos before going to Sesriem Canyon. We all walked down the canyon and took loads of photos, it was really beautiful and rugged. I was happy that my parents were walking with us and enjoying themselves, we even picked up some pretty rocks to put on my granmother’s grave in South Africa. We had a quick lunch at the only restaurant, before heading back to the accommodation.
Because my parents had paid a different price at the accommodation they had dinner and breakfast included so they had a little date (ooohh romantic!) and I went to the owner and asked if I could microwave our leftovers, haha. Exhausted, we went to bed early. It had been such an amazing day and the dunes are something that will stay with me for a long time.