Thursday, January 19, 2012

Namibia Trip - Swakopmund and Namib Desert

After driving through Etosha for a few days, we spent a few relaxing nights in Swakopmund taking in the quaint, German beach scene. We stayed at the charming Hotel Eberwein just a few blocks from the beach. Since it was Christmas, most businesses were closed, but we still got a feel for the place and at times I felt like I was on a beach in Southern California instead of Africa.



Ocean - Swakopmund

Sunset - Swakopmund

From Swakopmund, we made the very long trek to the Namib desert. After a point, the road is mostly gravel and there isn't much to see. Then all of a sudden, you come across some interesting granite formations in the Tropic of Capricorn.

Tropic of Capricorn

Eventually we found our way to the Desert Homestead Lodge. Imagine being in Palm Springs in the middle of summer with no air conditioning. The climate was pretty brutal. The next morning (at 5:30), we took a guided tour to Sossuvlei to see the amazing sand dunes.

Entering Sossuvlei
Entering Sossuvlei at sunrise and there are springboks (again)

Oryx - Sossuvlei

Ostriches - Sossuvlei

Dune 45 - Sossuvlei
Dune 45 is quite possibly one of the most photographed sites in all of Namibia

We opted out of climbing Dune 45 part way so we could save our energy for the "Big Daddy" dune. At the base of Big Daddy is Deadvlei and at the top of the dune you can see stunning views from all around. Unfortunately, this is also when my camera battery started to die so some of these pictures are from my cell phone.

Big Daddy Dune - Sossuvlei
Big Daddy

About to climb Big Daddy - Sossuvlei
It looks easier than it is

The view from Big Daddy - Sossuvlei
The view

About two-thirds of the way through, my mom and I decided we had had enough of hiking the dune, so we rolled down the hill (no easy feat). We waited for the rest of our group in Deadvlei. This area used to have dunes, but now contains petrified trees from dunes long ago.



With all the hiking, we worked up a monster appetite. Luckily, our tour package included a champagne brunch!

Champagne Brunch after hiking Sossuvlei

From the desert, we headed back to Windhoek so I could catch my flight(s) back to LA. My sister and mom spent some time in Twyfelfontein and Windhoek for the remainder of the trip. I took many more pictures than what I have shown you. To view my cell phone pictures, click here. To view my ridiculously large (400+ pictures) photo gallery from my entire trip, click here. Namibia is a vast and beautiful country and I feel extremely lucky to have been able to experience it this way. It's not a place I would have ever thought to visit before, but now I can say that I am very glad that I did.

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Erica said...

I'm so jealous of this amazing adventure! Dune 45 is totally gorgeous

Allison [Girl's Guide to Social Media] said...

Wow. What a gorgeous site...all those photos from your trip. How long did it take you to climb Big Daddy dune?

Esi said...

Thanks ladies!

Allison, we spent a while at Big Daddy. I think about two hours to go up part way and then slide down.

Heather Christo said...

It's so amazing Esi. Africa is at the top of my travel wish list.I am just waiting until my girls get a little older. What a wonderful experience- thanks for sharing. I am going to check out your photos album!

marla said...

This is AMAZING!!! Those dunes look like a life changing experience :) One day I hope to experience this too!

The Food Librarian said...

What a beautiful beautiful trip! Heading over to see the rest of the photos. So jealous of your travels! - mary

aida mollenkamp said...

Wow, Esi. This looks like an amazing adventure. And I can understand why everyone loves Dune 45 -- it's so perfect looking. Do you know why it is called Dune 45, by the way?

Esi said...

Jen, I think that was one of the most exciting parts of this trip...driving around and then all of a sudden seeing an animal in it's natural habitat is so cool and something you only think happens in National Geographic :)

Heather, I hope you get to cross Africa off your bucket list some day.

Aida, I'm not really sure why it's called Dune 45. They name all of them though. There is another one that we saw called Big Mommy :)

vanillasugarblog said...

a champagne brunch? in africa? fabulous!
I would hate to be that ostrich--dude is definitely someone's dinner

Joanne said...

Those dunes are amazing! It's insane to think they're actually climb-able!

Diana said...

My nickname in high school was Ostrich.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Kerstin said...

What an amazing trip - your pictures are just gorgeous!

Let Me Eat Cake said...

what an incredible trip you had! i need to find time to look through all 400 pics :) what a feat even climbing part of a dune!i

Unknown said...

wow, i would feel like i was going to sink in :) what a great adventure!!