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May 31st 2008
Published: July 9th 2008
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Pretty big sand dunes!

We had a great time at Vingerklip but then had a pretty long drive down to Swakopmund on gravel and then salt roads. We had to do this in two legs as it probably wasn't safe to take the polo in the dark on the roads that rollercoastered up and down into dry streams to save the cost of building bridges. We had an overnight stop in a place called Uis. There really is nothing there apart from cave paintings of a white lady, so the few B&bs and restaurants were all called white lady this or that.

Swakopmund is also slightly bizzare. It is the biggest town for quite some distance but you need to drive on a salt road down the coast to get there and it just emerges out of nothing. It was good to be in the biggest place since Joburg, so we ended up seeing a very girlie film at the pictures (which went straight to DVD in the US) and took the opportunity to eat something other than steak or game meat at a pizzeria.

We stayed at a place called Desert Sky backpackers, which did everything it needed to. The highlight was a day spent sandboarding, which was really exciting. I had a go at a version similar to snow boarding and managed to get down a really steep slope without falling over too many times. Lynne had a go at lie down boarding, which involved a sheet of MDF and little else. This was great fun and you basically hurtled yourself down these massive sand dunes digging your feet into the sand if you wanted to slow down. At the end of the dune was usually a natural ramp, so you took off and and ended up with a face full of sand. Lynne blatantly didn't use her feet to slow down and she clocked the fastest speed of the day at over 75km/hr! We've got some pics and a video of this which we'll put on at a later date.

We then had another big drive of about 4-5 hours on gravel to get to Sossusvlei to see the world's biggest sand dunes. We stayed just outside of the national park there at a place called Desert Homestead. We'd really recommend this to anyone. It is in a fantastic setting in prairie land and the setting sun turns everything into this golden yellow colour. We also managed to do a bit of horse riding here, which was a bit uncomfortable, but worth it. We rode out mid afternoon and the lodge then sets up a table with nibbles and G&Ts for you to watch the sunset before riding back in the dark under the stars!

The main reason for coming here though was to see and climb the sand dunes at Sossusvlei. So we got up at 5am to do the 70km drive to get to the dunes for sun rise. The sand dunes are truely impressive, becasue of their size but also the intense red colour of the sand. We went to a place called Dead Vlei, where all these trees have died on what seems to be a salt pan. We then climed up the biggest sand dune in the world, called the Big Daddy which has a face of 350m. It was pretty hard work, but at least we were prepared with water. One French bloke was climbing the dune in jeans, a denim shirt, carrying a heavy coat, without any water and in 30 odd degree heat. He looked like he was about to pass out!

The view from the top is great, as all around is just a sea of other dunes. Perhaps the best bit though is running down the face of the dune to get down, with the sand coming up to your shins and strange sounds as all the air trapped in the sand is let out. Sossusvlei was a cool experience and something you should definitely do if you head out that way!

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