Monday, November 1, 2010

NAMIBIA - Beauty and the Beasts- Part 4

Leaving Swapkopmund, the ex-African/German city at the Atlantic Ocean, behind us, we were now headed into the oldest desert of the world, the Namib desert! 

Homeb at Namib Naukluft Park
Miles away from any form of civilisation, we overnighted at the Homeb campsite. 

Homeb at Namib Naukluft Park
In the middle of an oasis along the dry Kuiseb riverbed, there is a very basic site with one water tap and... that's about it! 

The goal of our next day was getting to a must see for all Namibia visitors, Sossusvlei. One however has to make a stop at Solitaire, a small community consisting of a petrol station, garage, bakery and cafe. The place really became known after Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman stopped there on their "the long way down" motorbike tour in 2007.
Morris Eight at Solitaire
I did enjoy shooting some HDR images of the dis-used cars parked at the entrance like this Morris Eight.   

Car wrecks at Solitaire
And this American truck.

Staying at the Sossusvlei lodge, right at the entry gate to the park, we were able to enter at 6.45am precise (earliest entry allowed) and drove the 65km to Sossusvlei. It was a bit of a race trying to get there first in order to take images free of people... 
Dunes at Sossusvlei
The park is known for its amazing dunes and its early morning colors are just breathtaking! I've seen quite a few dunes in and around Dubai, but nothing compares to this!

Deadvlei trees
Just next to Sossusvlei, which is basically a mud-pan created by a river that flows only briefly every 5 to 10 years, is Dead-Vlei. It is a photographers paradise... 

Ground texture at Deadvlei
Because the water never gets far enough into the valley, all trees in Dead-vlei have died. An estimated 900 years ago! Yes, that's right!

Deadvlei trees
What makes the place even more special, is that there is not even enough humidity for decomposition. So although dead,these trees have been perfectly preserved for centuries.

Dunes at Sossusvlei
The great adventure was almost over! We ended up spending one more night at the excellent Namib grens campsite (see star-trail post earlier) followed by a last day in the capital Windhoek.

I'll be writing some closing thoughts on this series in a last blogpost later this week. 

Till then,

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