Namibia’s most iconic postcard must be the Namib Desert’s red dunes. This image lures people from around the world to a tiny dot on the map called Sesriem. From here you can access the giant dunes near Sossusvlei. According to there are three things any first-time visitor should do: climb Dune 45 at sunrise, explore Sesriem Canyon at midday and lose yourself in Dead Vlei at sunset.
The gate is open and we follow the tar road towards the dunes. The tar lasts for 70 km and ends at a car park a few kilometres from Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei.
From this car park, however, you need a 4x4 vehicle to negotiate the sandy track that leads to Sossusvlei. But we’re not going that far today – mornings are for Dune 45, which is 45 km from Sesriem, hence its name.
Dawn arrives in shades of orange fading to deep blue on the eastern horizon. We stop to take some photos.
The sun is up now and
We head up the dune. Thanks to the cool weather the stream of dune climbers has not abated. Halfway up we encounter an awestruck man. Frank Juckes is a dairy farmer from Gloucestershire in England. “Isn’t it amazing?” he says, in part to his wife Mary and in part to me, but mostly directed at the landscape around him.
We’re spoilt in southern Africa – Sossus is in our back yard. But for someone from Gloucestershire, this is another planet. We watch adults playing in the sand with childlike wonder. Some seem to be rediscovering the joys of walking barefoot in what really is a giant sandpit.