Week 5: Coastal and Sandblasted

Our fifth week in Southern Africa took us from the dead heat of the Sossusvlei desert sand dunes back to the windy Atlantic on the Skeleton Coast.
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Red Dunes of Sossusvlei

We started the week off in Sossuslvei, the oldest dunes in the world. The red giants (some 300 meters high) are probably the most famous thing to see in Namibia, but even though at one point there were maybe 60 of us there, it still felt completely deserted. (Literally). We climbed up one of the dunes shortly after sunrise and then ran down (awesome fun) to the dead vlei (flat land) to take some photos there.

Red dunes of Sossusvlei
Walking the ridge of one of the dunes

Walvis Bay

Sossuslvei was HOT so the next day we hit up the coast again and went to Walvis Bay to do nothing. Walvis Bay is really just a harbour – it’s actually the biggest and most important one in Namibia as it’s close to the capital, and it’s the port used by Zambia and Zimbabwe – but there isn’t too much else there. Except flamingoes. Real ones, just walking around.

Flamingoes
An arrangement of flamingoes – just hanging out!

We desperately needed to de-dust the inside of the Landy as everything was covered in white gravel and sand dune dust, so we rented a little bachelor chalet and did nothing for a couple of days. (Well, I hunkered down in bed feeling sick, and Moreno dealt with credit card fun). We did meet an awesome Canadian couple, Vic and Deb, who have been on the road for a few years since they’ve retired. Their black and white striped rented camper (which they nicknamed ‘the wounded Zebra’) was falling apart and Moreno spotted another wound – a deflating tyre – so after joining forces to change the tyre, we bonded sharing our various travel adventures over beers. They were a hoot, so when we did eventually  leave, we followed them to a campsite in Swakopmund.

Swakopmund

Swakopmund is just 30km north up the coast and is the local holiday vacation spot in Namibia. We had a great seafood dinner the first night with our new Canuck friends before we parted ways. The next morning, we went on a catamaran cruise and it was really good – we saw pelicans, seals, dolphins – and got completely sunburned (it’s hard to tell with all the wind!).

Pelican up close
Up close with the pelicans

And then I went sand boarding in the afternoon and got completely sand blasted! Swakopmund is the adrenaline capital of the country, so I had to try something. But it gets so windy here in the afternoon that we had to call it a day after half an hour!

Skeleton Coast

To finish off the week, we started making our way further north towards the infamous shipwreck-laden Skeleton Coast. We made it as far as Cape Cross, which is home to one of the biggest colonies of Cape fur seals. They’re fast! And, not gonna lie…so smelly.

Sunning seal
A seal suns at Cape Cross

We found camp at Mile 108 and ended up being the only ones camping there (the sign actually said the campsite was closed, so we’re thinking the guy at reception just pocketed the money). The beach campsite was massive, and there were hyena and jackal tracks near the edge of the camp, and no fences. There was also a seal carcass on the beach. Yum. It actually would’ve been a great star gazing opportunity as there was no electricity anywhere in the area…if we weren’t totally creeped out.

Mile 108 campsite
The beach campsite looked like a graveyard in the fog of the early morning. So creepy.

Next: We’re heading up the Skeleton Coast to see shipwrecks, and then either back to Swakopmund for some Landy parts (turns out our snorkel is just for show), or some of the areas just off coast, including Twyfelfontein – the largest rock engraving site and one of Namibia’s two World Heritage Sites.

Stay tuned!