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Published: June 30th 2011
You walk into the heart of the African desert surrounded by sand dunes scattering the landscape. The environment is freezing cold and you dehydrate quickly. As the winds pick up you are temporarily blinded by the sand blasting into your face. Your vision clears for a moment as you find yourself gazing up at one of the most spectacular sights in the African Namibian Desert - Dune 45.
After waking up at 4am and driving for 3 hours along the trans-Kalahari highway you finally arrive at the Namib Naukluft National Park, home to Sossusvlei, Deadvlei, Dune45, and 50,000 Sq. Km of pristine desert begging to be explored.
As you hike into the Namibian desert, you walk past blinding white salt pans, apricot colored sand dunes, turquoise desert lakes and the occasional desert scorpion. You stop for a moment and wonder how life can exist in the desert, then to your surprise you stumble across brightly colored plants that miraculously exist in one of the oldest deserts on Earth.
Gazing up at one of the most spectacular sand dunes in Africa, you pause for a moment to take in the magical landscape before your eyes. Being relatively fit, you
wonder why it will take 2 hours to reach the summit. Being an experienced hiker you underestimate the difficulty of hiking on the desert dunes.
Feeling completely alone and isolated by the vastness of the Namibian desert, you begin to struggle with each step as your hiking shoes sink into the sand. You gasp for breath as you scramble along the peak of the dune. The desert sun burns your face, as you shiver from the cold air. You take in another mouthful of sand as you begin to wonder if you will ever reach the summit.
The wind is strong and the environment harsh, the landscapes are stunning and the lakes are miraculous. The sun is hot but the wind is cold. The sand is harsh but the dunes are beautiful. Your lips are chapped and your muscles ache. Sand blasts into your face while your eyes stream with water. Your shoes fill with sand and you feel dehydrated.
While taking in the spectacular views of the desert, the sand dune give way under your feet. You stumble for a moment causing a landslide. Struggling to maintain your balance, you look down realizing it’s a 120
meter drop below. As your adrenaline kicks in, you somehow motivate yourself to keep moving.
On reaching the summit, you collapse exhausted while taking in the 360 degree view of rolling sand dunes. You look back following your footsteps along the peak of the dune in amazement while sitting at the top feeling a sense of achievement without another person in sight.
Reaching the top of Dune 45 is an incredibly isolating but rewarding experience.
Truly a highlight of my travels!
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