Sunday, 7 June 2015

Namibia Travels: Part 6

Day 9 and 10:
After getting buffeted by wind and spending the entire night thinking that the wind was going to blow us and our tent to Timbuktu, I was super relieved when the alarm went off at 4:45 am, indicating that we could wake up, get dressed and set off to see the sunrise in the desert along with all the other crazy people early birds. 

Sunrise in Sossusvlei
Sunrise in Sossusvlei - just too beautiful!
Silhouette of tree and man in Sossusvlei
Silhouette of tree being held up by Frosty.
Grass at sunrise in Sossusvlei
This is the grass that all those animals survive the middle of a desert!
Orange sunrise with tree silhouettes in Sossusvlei
The sun getting ready to show her face...
Sun peeking over mountains in Sossusvlei
Peeking over the distant mountains
Sunrise in the desert of Sossusvlei
The first rays of sun, sneaking over the ground sand (and grass patches).
We decided to go back to Dune 45 for sunrise. This time we didn't climb the dune, but meandered around in front of it. We eventually made our way to a smaller dune next door that had only Frosty and I on it, instead of the miriad of tourists that were scrambling up Dune 45, looking like an army of little ants patrolling up the edge, one-by-one.

Sunrise catching wavy dunes in Sossusvlei
I love the ripples that the sand makes, enhanced by the shadows.
Frosty likes that the ripples are usually straight, but then sometimes
branch out to join with other ripples.
Long shadows against red dunes in Sossusvlei
You wouldn't guess it from our shadows, but those dunes are pretty tall!
Sunrise catching the sandy waves of the dunes in Sossusvlei
More ripples in the sand.
Photographer in action in Sossusvlei
Taking pictures of pictures.
Grassy patches in front of sand dunes in Sossusvlei
Grass and dunes.
Frosty with his coffee (that tasted horrible because of
the off milk that I put in!
Waves in sand dunes in Sossusvlei
Ripples and dunes, I really like this pic and how the ripples disappear into the depths of the sand.

Waves in sand dunes in Sossusvlei
Light and shade.
I think he found an interesting sand grain!
After watching the sun come up, we headed back to the end of the road and caught one of the 4x4 shuttles who took us a little bit further into the desert and dunes. We got dropped off at a car park, in the middle of the desert, full of 4x4 vehicles, so at least we knew we were in the right place. We seemed to have missed the memo that we were meant to hike all the way into the dunes with a minute bottle of water in our hands to keep us hydrated, which was what the majority of our fellow tourists seemed to be doing. After spending a bit of time walking around and people watching, we caught a shuttle back to the (non 4x4) car park and eventually camp-site. 

Beetle in the sand in Sossusvlei
We found this beetle burrowing it's way into the cool sand.
Early morning selfies
Tiny people on top of a sand dune
Those little black speckles at the top of the dune - they're people!
People running down dune 45 in Sossusvlei
Woohoo - some of the people who braved the early morning
hike up the dune running down once the sun had risen!
Tree and sand dune in Sossusvlei
Tree and sand in the middle of no-where
Dried mud in Sossusvlei
Some dried mud - who would have thought that something so dry and cracked could
be so pretty?
Green plant growing in the Sossusvlei desert
Life in the middle of the desert.
Exploring the dunes before breakfast.
Before setting off in the morning, I had tried to do the camping-thing and make us some coffee savour while the sun rose, but somehow the milk inside one of our milk cartons had gone bad and so we ended up pouring our coffee to the ground and making some more when we got back to the camp site. After a second, successfully made cup of coffee and some rusks for breakfast, we started off on our loooong drive all the way to Hobas.

Giraffes in Namibia
We found some giraffes on our drive to Hobas
Giraffes in Namibia
These guys were a bit shorter than the giraffes we're used to
seeing - I guess shorter food makes for smaller animals.
Lunch at Canyon Roadhouse
Inside Canyon Road House Namibia
Take some time to take a wonder and admire all the old cars they have lying around
Old fashioned car next to a windmill at Canyon Road House Namibia
For those of you who follow me on Instagram - here's the colour version :)
We were originally aiming to spend 2 nights in Ai-Ais, to avoid having to put up and take down the tent again, but after close on 8 hours of driving and a delicious lunch at the Canyon Roadhouse we decided that it would be better to just stay at the Hobas Camp Site one night, save ourselves an extra hour of driving and then go through to Ai-Ais the next day. So after finishing off a leisurely lunch, we only had to drive a few km to get to Hobas Camp Site. After checking in we went straight to the viewpoint of the Canyon (which is close to the start of the Fish River hike) and had a quiet sundowners before setting up camp.

Fish River Canyon at sunset, Namibia
Panoramic pic taken by Frosty of the Canyon
Fish River Canyon at sunset, Namibia
Fish River Canyon at sunset - beautiful!
Moon rising with pink clouds and purple-blue sky
The moon and clouds on our way home were also just too spectacular - always look behind you when admiring a view, you might find a view just as good in the other direction!
Sunset at Fish River Canyon
More sunset pics - I was astounded that the viewpoint was so deserted, but definitely
not complaining.
Say cheese!
The next day were got up and went to have our breakfast of coffee and rusks at the Canyon Viewpoint. We did a bit of exploring and found the starting place for the Fish River hike, as well as another viewpoint that you would ideally want a 4x4 to get to. Luckily my little Ford is a wannabe 4x4 and Frosty is a somewhat crazy farm boy! We managed to bump our way across a rather scary road without too much of an incident. 

The start of the Fish River Canyon Hike
We found these padlocks locked onto the chain at the start of the Fish River walk.
Just a tiny chain, held up by two poles and a scarily steep climb to get to the
bottom of the canyon - hopefully one day we'll get a chance to do this walk.
Playing around with black and white pictures of the canyon.
Red plant in the Hobas area
Spiky red plant that we found while exploring one of the other
view points in the morning.
Black and white image of the Fish River Canyon
Another black and white view of a different part of the canyon
The one thing we had fun doing at the Hobas Camp Site when we got back from our breakfast, was a bit of birdwatching. We had a lovely time stalking the birds with our bino's and my camera, trying not to spill our second cup of coffee for the morning. All too soon, it was time to say goodbye to Hobas and set off for Ai-Ais.

Swallow-tailed Bee-eater in Ai-Ais
When we arrived at Ai-Ais I let Frosty do some of the unpacking while I stalked off to get pics
of some of the many Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters in the camp site. I think this was probably my
sharpest shot, but I think the ones below are more interesting.
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater in Ai-Ais
I caught this little guy (or gal) in action and after a bit of editing, I'm pretty chuffed with the
final result!
It was only an hour's drive this time, which was a bonus, probably our shortest day in the car. Even so, I napped for half our trip there and only woken up a few km before the entrance! I have to say, I was a little disappointed with Ai-Ais in terms of the cleanliness of the place. Our camp site was messy, with glass on the floor and there were little piles of rubbish spotted around the entire resort. That being said, the buildings/flats looked pretty nice and I think they would have had a lovely view! When we found the hot spring that is in the middle of the resort, Frosty popped his finger in it and verified that the temperature was very warm. We couldn't swim in the actual hot spring, but we went and spent some of our afternoon in the pool, which was lovely and warm and I could feel all my travel-worn muscles instantly loosening up! It brought out the water baby in me, I could have happily spent all night in that water just soaking up the warmth! Instead we wandered down to the river and had a lovely time watching the sky be painted like a watercolour painting, turning from blue to purple-orange-pink as the sun went down. Not a bad way to end off our trip at all!

Swallow-tailed Bee-eater in Ai-Ais with a snack that it caught
If you look carefully, you'll see what was on the menu for the bee-eaters' dinner!
Fluffed up Swallow-tailed Bee-eater
I had a good model in this birdy.
This pic of it all puffed up was just too cute!
If you read the sign at the back, you'll see why there is
a big fence around the actual hot spring!
Taking a stroll down the river for sundowners and some final bird watching.
Sunset with orange and purple skies
The colours of the sky as the sun went down were really incredible, I don't think these pics
do it enough justice.
Sunset with orange and purple skies
Final rays before darkness fell.
If you'd like to read about the rest of the trip, click on the links to read and see photos from Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

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  1. Man this makes me want to go back to Namibia!

  2. Ah, Brucie, me too! We only saw the South half, there's still the whole Northern Half to explore! Next Adventure Time Outing, perhaps? ;)