Beautiful view from top of Spreethoogte Pass

Through my previous blogs we have seen that Namibia is a country of differences. When I first asked friends and family their ideas of what Namibia is like 90% said sand dunes, desert and a dangerous coastline but it is much more than that.

A few days after we returned from Etosha Tyrone’s parents arrived and we all went to Sossusvlei (salt marsh) where we spent 3 nights at the Gondwana Namib Desert Lodge at Sesriem, a town near Sossusvlei. To get to Sossusvlei we travelled west to Windhoek and then south to Rehoboth and as we made our way further south to Sesriem we travelled through the most beautiful Spreetshoogte Pass. We stopped at the top of the Pass in a very cold wind but ignored that as we admired the quite extraordinary view which is best described in these photos.

Beautiful view from top of Spreethoogte Pass

A view from the top of the pass

Corner on the road at the bottom of the Pass

The road down the pass

Dam in the valley

A dam halfway down the pass

We stopped for afternoon tea/coffee at a little town called Solitaire. They advertised that they served the best apple crumble in Namibia and they were absolutely correct.

Old and new carsLyn’s car beside and old wreck at Solitaire

Small home with abandoned truckAn old home and vehicle near Solitaire

Late afternoon we arrived at our destination and once again were very pleasantly surprised. We had 3 neighbouring chalets which were bright and airy with lovely views. I can definitely recommend to those who want to travel in Namibia and want clean and comfortable accommodation then having a Gondwana Card is a brilliant idea. Good places to stay at good discounts. 

Our chalets beneath a dune at NDL

Our chalets beneath petrified dunes

View from Namib Desert Lodge

View from our chalets

Visiting Sossusvlei itself means travelling about 5kms to the Naukluft Park Entrance Gate and then another 60kms on tar road to the vlei itself. On the way we stopped at Dune 45, the best known dune in the Park. It is called Dune 45 because it lies 45 km past Sesriem on the road to Sossusvlei. It is 80 metres high and it is composed of 5-million-year-old sands. Many people climb this dune just to say that they did but also there are fabulous views from the top. I managed about halfway. Climbing in sand is not easy.

 31 MD at dune 45

At the base of Dune 45

Tyrone climbing Dune 45

 Tyrone sets off up dune 45

At various places along the road we saw what are known as Fairy Circles. These are perfectly circular patches in the grass usually appearing in groups. There have been many explanations including myths and legends put forward for these bare patches with latest being a year ago saying that termites have been found to be the creators thereof.

 49 fairy circles on dune

Fairy Circles

Another surprise was when we saw a small SA plane parked in a field. There were a couple of folk standing near it and we could only surmise that it was used as a private plane for one of the lodges in the area.

Plane being loaded

Unexpected desert visitor

When we go to the vlei itself and were amazed to find it full of water. There definitely had been heavy rains up north to bring plenty of water down into the vlei via the Tsauchab River. Lyn & Tyrone said that this was very rare as it is usually absolutely dry. We enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch under the trees during which Lyn & Trevor had great fun feeding their rolls to the birds directly from their hands and arms.

Trevor with Lyn behind him at Sossusvlei

Lyn & Trevor at a flooded Sossusvlei

vlei washed away

After the flood

Lyn feeding a few birds

Lyn feeds a bird with such pleasure

Trevor with lots of birdsSparrows test Trevor’s roll

We returned to the main gate and drove the 5kms to Sesriem Canyon which was really fun to walk around. It was created over millions of years by the Tsauchab River, the same river which ends at the vlei. Getting from the parking area to the bottom canyon was a reasonably steep climb down but so worth doing. We walked for about a km along the floor of the canyon and were not totally surprised that it contained a fair amount of water as it is known to hold water all year round.

51 road to sesriem canyonThe road to Sessriem

52 dad walking down into canyonTrevor climbing down into the canyon

Wall of Sesriem CanyonA wall of the canyon

Nesting places in walls of Sesriem CanyonBird nesting holes in the canyon

The following day we went on a ride in an open vehicle to the top of some of the dunes around the Lodge showing such a wide variety of dunes it was amazing.