The Namib Desert is quite possibly one of the most stunning places in the world. The pockets of green bushes that grow out of the vivid orange sand look almost surreal. To avoid the crowds, we set out to Sossusvlei well before sunrise and made it there by around 7am. The sky was the bluest I'd ever seen, the sand a bright orange. With temperatures already hovering around 97F, we climbed one beautiful dune after another. After a little rest at the top of one, I gave in to my impulse of taking my shoes off to feel the cool sand then ran down to the bottom. What an adrenaline rush!
This was one of the most spectacular parts of our journey. An "add-on" to the 10-day group tour that we had enjoyed, we weren't sure what to expect. The dunes in this region are breathtaking - majestic and mysterious, they cam move with each storm and, all the while, harbor amazing (and often very tiny) wildlife. One highlight was seeing the Spotted Eagle Owl.
We climbed Big Daddy - for the experience, to say we did, and for the exhilarating thrill of loping down the side into the "vlei." It takes about 2 hours. Admittedly, we only had enough time to climb halfway - but even that was worth it for the incredible view. (There is an easier way over the bottom of the dunes, but you miss the spectacle of the view.)
Oh, and go barefoot. Your feet will never again feel so soft.