Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.
As long as we’re doling out tons of AFAR love, I’ve been wanting to share with you my photos of the Sossusvlei Dessert in Namibia that I’ve posted for their “highlights”. The theme for these photo entries was “Top of the World”. Enjoy!
“I tried going through Nambia as a solo-traveler and found out that it’s very difficult to do. After hitching a ride from a honeymooning couple from Cape Town across the border into the Orange River region of southern Namibia, the hostel owner where we pitched for the night was alarmed that I didn’t have any on-ward plans other than continue being a third-wheel on a honeymoon or be stranded with him for a week or more before another tour bus came through. Luckily, a “Whichway Overland Adventures” bus arrived at the hostel that night, and he nudged me to ask the driver to joining them all the way to Victoria Falls, Zambia. It wasn’t routine practice to pick up passengers once the tour already departed, but after calling their head office and taking my credit card details, they allowed me to accompany them. I had already been to Victoria Falls, but since this was my only way to get through this vast and mostly barren country and the tour included the Okavango Delta which I was planning to do anyway, it turned out not to be a bad choice.
While I have a lot of scenic pictures of the stunning Sossusvlei Dunes, I decided to post one of my tour group since they literally saved me. I was on top of the world Thrilled that I could join them.
So my advice to solo-travelers is book an overland tour to go through Namibia. If you’re not alone, there are plenty of people who drive through the country with a rental car.”
“I am standing on top of the highest dune I managed to climb in the early hours just in time to watch the sun rise over these magnificent dunes. By just standing still and allowing the passing sun to paint the palette across the sand, I witnessed the transformation of colors around me from a soft ivory, to gold, to deep ochre. It was stunning and awe inspiring.
As I looked around me, the vista of dunes went on for as far as the eyes could see, broken only by the dry ancient river beds cutting through them, shining tiles of ancient clay. Beyond the dunes looking toward the west in this picture, my mind pictured the vast expanse of the Atlantic ocean. This setting lifted me up in a surreal form of levitation until I felt like I was literally on top of the world.
(For reference and scale, there is a group of people standing in the middle-right part of the frame.)”
“Wind, fire and water fashioned these dunes over millions of years, forming peaks up to 1,000 feet. Seasonal winds carried sand westward from the Kalahari desert, while the Benguela current from South Africa’s shores blew in sand off the Atlantic coast. These dunes are thought to be the highest in the world, and are some of the oldest on earth. Over time, changing winds shifted their growth and direction.
At Deadvlei, the dunes choked off ancient riverbeds, leaving behind 500 year old skeletons of Camel Thorn trees standing on sun-baked mud tiles. Towering over the gnarled starkness of these trees rise Crazy Dune, over 1,000 feet tall looking like a mountain constantly flowing down into the span of sun-baked clay below. How can the top of the world feel so liquid and unstable?
(For reference and scale, there is a person standing on the front dune ridge in the lower-left part of the frame.)”
And here are a few more of my favorites…