Sossusvlei, Namib desert, Namibia...a beautiful land where you can find the oldest and probably the tallest sand dune on earth...
One of the magical moment I experienced there was when I joined a hot air ballooning trip over the Sossusvlei. When I flew, the morning was fresh, the sky was clear bright blue with no spot of clouds, and the sun was so warming and illuminating. It was truly a magical moment....
This adventure started in the capital of Windhoek, Namibia, where two friends and I rented a 2-wheel drive car and headed west towards the Skeleton Coast. After spending two days there, we took our incompetent rig south. Recent rains made for some interesting river crossings in several dramatic canyons along the way. The car took a severe beating, but we finally arrived at Sossusvlei.
This shot was taken shortly after sunrise. Dune 45 is a massive red sand dune in Sossusvlei Park. We ascended it in darkness and were treated to a spectacular desert sunrise. I took this of two other hikers that were farther along, and loved the contrast of light, dark, red, and blue. The hikers give this massive sand sculpture some perspective.
There are several ways to reach this inspiring destination. Our route was by no means the quickest or easiest, but did add some incredible adventure. It's best to check local road conditions to decide the best route.
Almost everywhere you look in Namibia, your eyes experience visual delight: beautiful dunes, trees standing dead over hundreds of years, mountains, ocean, and animals, all enveloped in fantastical light. Namibia's topography can be described in one word: stunning, as this photo taken after a sandstorm clearly shows. Visiting Namibia is a trip of a lifetime.
Rise at dawn and watch the colors light up the world's largest dunes like fire. The depth of oranges, greens and golds is astounding.
Sossuslvei is located in the southern part of the Namib Desert. The dune pictured here is the largest known as Big Daddy. (I'm not making that up, its really called Big Daddy).
I climbed to the top, past the footprints of critters that had run about in the night, scattering before the tourists arrive. When I reached the tip, I slid all the way down, one foot in the front of the other, like skiing. Giggling all the way, over 300m meters to the bottom where the Dead Vlei awaited.
The Dead Vlei (so gothic!) is a dry lake bed with a petrified forest of beautiful trees creating surrealist shapes.
As the heat rose I knew it was well worth it to be there early! And breakfast was calling me...