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Published: January 26th 2010
Happy new year!
This is sadly our final blog for Africa as we have completed the circle and headed back to Walvis Bay.
After leaving Cape Town with a killer hangover after a great night on long street we had a grueling 700km up to the border with Namibia. It passed fairly easily, we spent a night at springbok camping under the stars before crossing the border the next morning into Namibia.
We only had 2 weeks left in Africa and we were really looking forwards to camping in the wilds of Namibia as the whole point of the trip had been about wildlife and wilderness and we had been a bit lazy in the cape staying mostly in backpackers.
Our first stop in Namibia is fish river canyon which was a full day’s drive down gravel roads to reach it. Namibia is just as I remembered it to be, endless landscapes and nobody around. Fish river canyon is only second in size to the grand canyon but unlike the American canyon it is totally isolated, there is a small campsite you can stay at but nothing else really. The canyon itself is massive
and stretches to the horizon, it is a remarkable place. We spent a nice evening around the camp fire watching civet cats prowling around looking for food (they look like a small leopard).
We were up early next day to head towards the sand dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert which are the highest dunes in the world. Located in the Namib Naukluft park, the largest conservation area in Africa, and fourth largest in the world, they are a true wonder of the world.
The drive was 700km so we were planning on stopping on the way for the night but there just wasn't anywhere to stop. I was getting seriously worried we would run out of petrol as we headed through the never ending wilderness without really seeing another car before we finally hit a "town", fortunately it had some petrol so we filled both tanks and headed on to Sossusvlei.
Sossusvlei is one of the places that does not disappoint and was probably the natural highlight of Africa for me. Sossusvlei means 'the gathering place of water' and in good years seasonal rains succeed in reaching the vleis. Sossusvlei has the highest sand dunes
in the world, perhaps Namibia's most outstanding feature, approximately 1000 feet in height; a 300km by 150km dune expanse stretching from the Khoichab River in the south to the Kuiseb River in the north. Perfectly shaped, blown into razor sharp ridges and peaks by the wind. "Big Daddy", one of the world's tallest dunes, can be climbed for incredible views of Dead Vlei below and the entire area for miles.
We arranged to camp at the national park camp site for 2 nights and were allocated a beautiful camp site where we setup for the night and watched an incredible sunset before having a few beers and a braai to celebrate the long drive. Sossusvlei is best seen at sunrise so we were up at 4:30am in the dark before driving into the park to hike 45mins up one of the largest dunes to watch the sunrise over the desert. We spent the day hiking through the dunes taking hundreds of photos and melting in the 45 degree heat of the desert.
We had intended to spend Christmas in the desert but the heat was just too much so we decided to push on to Walvis Bay and
the cool of the coast. This meant another full day of driving, although we stopped at a tiny place called solitude to get some diesel which was a tiny oasis in the middle of nowhere and had a wild west feel to it.
Africa had one final terrible road in store for us and a goodbye present and we had 300kms of bumps through some stunning desert scenery before we hit the tar road that would lead to Walvis Bay. It was a strange feeling for both of us heading through the Namib desert to Walvis Bay where 4 months and 18000km's earlier we had started our trek round Africa. We both felt a sense of achievement and we hit the coast and headed for a camp site on the beach where we opened a bottle of champagne on Christmas eve and had a braai in celebration of our trip. The car was scheduled to go into its container 5 days later (and a much needed rest) so we spent that time chilling on the beach and just enjoying Africa it was a perfect ending to a amazing trip but we were both ready for Australia to see
some friends and family and to sleep in a house and not on the roof of the Landover.
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