Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Namibia Travels: Part 5

We're getting close to the end of my series on our trip to Namibia and I think the places we visited over these two days were probably the highlights of my trip!

If you've just joined me, click the links to catch up on the rest of the trip:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Day 7 and 8:
After our lovely evening the night before with Frosty's aunt and uncle in Okahandja, we got an early start so that we could get to the airport in Windhoek to drop Frosty's folks off and grab a bite to eat with them before their plane left and before we headed off for the next stop in our trip - Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park.

Klein Aub River Namibia
I took this picture for my grandfather - his name is famous in Namibia!
Dirt road in Namibia
Most of the road in Namibia are dirt roads, but luckily my little Ford Fiesta could handle it!
Entrance to Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park
The entrance to Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park
Gemsbok (Oryx) in the Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park
We spotted some Gemsbok on our drive through the park.
Gemsbok (Oryx) in the Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park
A family of Gemsbok
It was about a 4 hour drive from the airport to Naukluft, and we arrived at the camp site in time to set up camp and take a quick stroll and do some birdwatching before the sun set, which was a real treat considering most of our tent-put-upping was done at dusk or in the dark during this trip. We even managed to find some wildlife as we were driving through the park on our way to the camp site! For rest of our journey, we stayed at camp sites that were run by Namibia Wildlife Resorts. This camp site was probably my favourite as it was clean, the bathrooms were incredible (so incredible that Frosty took a photo of them) and the staff at reception were friendly and helpful. We also got a spot close to the river on the "lower level" of the campsites which allowed us to be close to the stream running past. 

Gemsbok (Oryx) in the Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park
And yet more Gemsbok
Namibian mountains landscape
The view of some of the mountains you get in Namibia
Sunset with moon and red clouds in Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park
The clouds were painted vivid pink as we watched the sun go down in the evening
Camping bathroom facilities
Yes, these are really bathroom facilities at the camp site! 
We chuckled to ourselves as we set up camp, as we had managed to bump into a certain familiar camping trailer belonging to Frosty's aunt and uncle who had gone off to do a hike with some of the other family. We chose a camp site right next door to the trailer so that we could keep an eye on it while we were there.

Proof that we found the trailer!
Vibrant purple flower
Purple flower
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater in flight. Bird with green body and wings, blue forked tail
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater in flight
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater in flight
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater in flight again
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater on a twig
I really loved the colours on these little guys - they are so bright you can't miss them!
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater in flight
And a more abstract view of the Bee-eater
Bush of small purple flowers
We found a bush of purple flowers while on our morning walk
Orange flowers of succulent plant
And we found these flowers decorating a tree
Succulent green plant with yellow-green flowers
We loved being so close to water in Namibia, it felt
slightly surreal that there was this amount of water around! 
Me, perched in front of one of the pools we found during our walk
The next day, we took a stroll around the park and found some lovely pools. Frosty acted as my bird guide-teacher and taught me a few new birds. We managed to even catch a glimpse of the rosy-faced lovebirds that the area is known for. They were lovely - when we finally managed to spot some that weren't hiding in the depths of the trees, Frosty just stood there looking through his bino's softly muttering "Oh wow, oh wow". 

Quiver tree Namibia White-ish bark, small forked branches with spiky green leaves
Quiver tree growing out the rocks
Green plant with fine cotton-wool like substance covering it
This plant looked like it was draped with cotton wool
Frosty in front of one of the other pools we found (way below us!)
Green plant with fine cotton wool like substance covering it Namibia
The cotton-wool stuff on this plant dissolved when water was poured on it and I wondered if
this wasn't part of the plants survival mechanism - does anyone know anything else about it?
Pink and red flower with orange near the bottom in Namibia
Pretty pinky-red flowers
Red flower in Namibia
Red flowers
All to soon, we finished off our walk and then started our drive to Sesriem Campsite, which is situated at the entrance to Sossusvlei. If I remember correctly, it was about a 3 hour drive to Sossusvlei, which was slightly longer than we anticipated, but it was definitely worth it! We checked in, had some lunch and decided to drive straight into the park so that we could climb a dune and catch the sunset. 

A family of Sociable Weavers flew across to the tree in our camp site to see if they could
scrounge some food from us during our lunch.
Car in desert landscape
Taking a break as we were driving through Sossusvlei
We drove all the way to the end of the tar road and decided that the best place to go for sunset would be Dune 45, since my little car wouldn't have been able to handle the 4x4 road that would take us all the way into the "real" dunes, which are pretty similar to the dunes you drive past, just more and bigger. So back we went and up we scrambled, to the highest point of Dune 45. After about half an hour and around 85m of hard slip-slide-scrambling where we sweated out all the liquids we'd had that day, plus some extra, we made it to the top! At the top, I decided to forego postpone my alcoholic drink that Frosty had so kindly lugged up in favour of water and juice, I was that thirsty! I don't think words could do the sunset justice - so enjoy the pictures below!

Gemsbok running in Sossusvlei
Gemsbok running through the desert
Dune 45 Namibia
Famous Dune 45!
Dune 45, person underneath and a tree in foreground
Frosty getting ready to climb the +- 85m to the top
Black and white image of a dune in Sossusvlei
A Dune in Black and White
Trees and Dunes in Namibia, Sossusvlei
Trees in the desert
Shadows against the Sossusvlei Sand Dunes
Getting ready to climb the dune
Dusty dunes in Sossusvlei
A dusty scene from afar
Climbing up Dune 45 in Namibia
It doesn't look that far, but climbing 85m in sand is really tough!
Frosty taking a break - we hopped from one grassy patch
to the next, which helped us in our climb!
View from the top of Dune 45, Sossusvlei
Looking into the dunes
View from the top of Dune 45, Sossusvlei
Desert Sunset
At the top of Dune 45, Sossusvlei
Finally made it to the top, that water in my hand didn't last very long!
Red dunes at Dune 45, Sossusvlei
Walking along the top of Dune 45
Sunset from the top of Dune 45, Sossusvlei
Takkies and sunsets

Footprints in the sand at the top of Dune 45, Sossusvlei
Footprints in the sand
Top of Dune 45, Sossusvlei
Even though we look excited in these pictures, we
were just relieved to have made it to the top!
Sundowners on top of Dune 45, Sossusvlei
Cool beer + big mountain to climb + sunset = happy boyfriend :)
Dune 45 spraying sand
The wind started to pick up...
Picture of sand and light and shadows in Sossusvlei
Playing with shadows and sand and light
Gekko on top of Dune 45, Sossusvlei
I don't know the scientific name, but I'd call this little guy a Dune Gekko!

Gekko on top of Dune 45, Sossusvlei
It looks like this little guy is getting showered with sand-fireworks!
Back at the bottom again
Car in front of sand dune
And just because I love my car, another car pic with
dunes in the background
Moon rising over Sossusvlei
Moon rise over the desert - isn't this picture just so peaceful?
Sunset and silhouette in Namibia
Silhouette at sunset in the desert
Sand inside shoes after climbing Dune 45 in Sossusvlei
We may have found half the dune in our shoes when we
eventually took them off
Sand inside shoes after climbing up Dune 45 in Sossusvlei
No wonder our shoes felt so heavy on the way down!
Tiny people dwarfed by Dune 45
Can you see all the teeny-tiny people marching their way up the dune? 
Black Backed Jackal in Sossusvlei
Black backed jackal taking a stroll
Springbok grazing in the desert
Springbok grazing. The nice thing about spotting game in the desert is that even if you're a
terrible game spotter, the desert makes it much easier!
Four gemsbok (oryx) running away from the viewer
Some cheecky Gemsbok bums
Sunset in Namibia
Some more of the desert sunset
Black Backed Jackal at night
A pity it was dark - we got lucky and spotted this guy on our drive back to the campsite!
We eventually got back to our campsite and set up our tent in the dark before making a start on supper and climbing into bed early so that we could be up early again the next morning to catch the sunrise in the park as well. 

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