PHOTOS of a waste or is it wonder-land in the Kalahari Namib Desert?
Delusional and desperate for water I crawl through the scorching sand towards my only hope, a tiny clump of trees on this vast wasteland of desert dunes and mirage lakes.
Such is my apparition as we enter the famous Namib Desert heading for Swakopmund Namibia. Do these same fears wash over you when you enter a massive desert?
My only goal is to rush to the coast across this boring landscape trying my best to not have our parched bodies end up on the evening news.
Yet even on this first drive the desert intrigue begins. Up ahead is a mountain with a huge sand dune defying gravity growing up the mountain side.
Then stopping on a small mound we are taken aback by the 360 degree view of absolute nothingness for as far as we can see.
And there in the middle of the heat waves is a large healthy Gemsbok with no visible source of food, water, or companionship.
Amazing but my childish fear still remains.
Gratefully pulling into our campground in Swakop the German influence is obvious and welcome. We hunker down for a few weeks to face some minor surgeries, catch up on our work, and enjoy the coast while preparing for our 3 week deep desert adventure.
Wow what a kick; our Land Rover can actually climb and drive on the massive coastal dunes, there really are Flamingos in the beach wetlands, near by lie some of the world’s largest diamond and guano (yes bird dung) deposits, and for this old mining engineer the geology is fascinating.
The intrigue of the desert blossoms but we are close to civilization. You got it, I am still nervous about us going it alone in the desert. This concern is heightened by complications with my surgery requiring us to extend our stay in Swakop.
Really, how bad can it be? I tell myself. There were bushman running out there as well as vortreckers (pioneers) who trudged through with ox and wagons, and people working in massive mining operations. Wars were even fought in this impossible environment.
If most of them survived, we should have a fighting chance… right? 😉
So off we trek into the desert with too many gallons of water and diesel, a snazzy roof top tent, full fridge and pantry, and hopefully a healing wound in my chest.
We make it to our designated camp site but it’s dumpy with just a few trees. So we figure we can make it to the Kuiseb River before dark.
Over the next few days the desert wins us over with its solitude and immense beauty. Most days we see maybe 2 other cars and the beauty is diverse on a new scale.
Plants and wildlife have adapted well along with the robust human element. It is not something to fear but embrace… to immerse yourself in.
Gemsbok (Oryx), Springbuck, Zebra, Social Weaver birds, Ostrich and others not only survive but thrive here.
The plants and grasses shut way down awaiting the few precious storms to flourish and flower.
Massive landscapes shift magically today and over geologic time.
And something totally unexpected… in this quiet expanse you find few distractions; just a deep peace to sit, observe, and feel.
After a week we find ourselves back in that first dumpy camp but this time it is an oasis in the middle of our vast new found friend.
Enjoy the day… And do good!
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