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Published: September 4th 2009
It's a cold day, shrouded in clouds as Mariner arrives in Walvis Bay, Namibia. Groups of unemployed men, lounging around the docks, add to the gloomy atmosphere.
As our tour vehicle leaves the port, topless women from the Himba tribe, known for smearing red ochre on their bodies, spread their wares on the ground outside of the port gate. The only way to visit them is to walk through the dock area and out the gate, as our tour vehicles won't be stopping.
We're headed out on the Treasures of the Namib Desert excursion. The vehicle drives through what there is of the town of Walvis Bay before continuing on to Namib-Naukflut Park. The hot, dusty drive introduces us to desolate hills and valleys reminiscent of a lunar landscape. Alan and I realize that we've chosen the wrong excursion. Later, we learn from Ken and Ngaire that the "Living Desert by Off Road Vehicle" took them 4-wheel-drive surfing on the sand dunes. And we thought it was a tour about spiders and desert reptiles.
Our excursion ends with the reward of a glass of chilled champagne. Oysters are offered but Alan and I both decline, not anxious to
take a chance on shellfish in this heat. Afterward, the vehicle stops by Dune #7 for a photo opportunity. The contrast between shade and sunlight makes the dunes look like a painting.
Later, Regent ships us back to the dune area for Dinner Under the Desert Stars, complete with camel riding. Unfortunately, our ticket puts us in the last group, arriving too late for camel rides or for finding seats with our friends.
As we leave the dinner, locals sing around the fire, a unique ending to a dusty day in Namibia.
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