What's the best thing about Sesriem Campsite at Sossusvlei in Namibia? The extra time you get to spend with the dunes at dawn and dusk when you stay inside the gates into the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Here's why we returned to experience Sesriem Campsite and Sossusvlei the slow travel way.
The first shock was how much Sesriem Campsite had grown since we last stayed there. The low stone walls defining the campsites were still there, but there were now more sites – not all of them under shady camel thorn trees. There was a swimming pool and the tiny reception area had been replaced by a huge barn-like structure under thatch that served as reception, shop, bar and restaurant. Ragged-looking youngsters were taking refuge there from the heat at their Overlander camp nearby, glued to their cell phones and looking haunted from lack of sleep. We enjoyed a very nice Sesriem burger, chips and salad.
But let’s focus on the good Sossusvlei stuff instead. Our drive to Dune 45 in the late afternoon light was special. Most visitors had already left to get out the external gate by sunset. We had the place virtually to ourselves in peace and tranquility, all the frenzy of the morning’s activities a distant memory. Even the drive back to camp was beautiful in the soft light after sunset. We could watch stars begin to freckle the sky and listen to a black-backed jackal yowling in the distance.
This is how to experience Sossusvlei, in solitude, serenity and staggering beauty – the slow travel way.
Some madmen overtook us at speed, heading for Dune 45. We stopped to watch them rushing like loons to park, put on jackets (it was 8 degrees Celsius) and start the climb up the dune so they could get to the top in time to watch the sunrise. It seemed to be a compulsive mission but I’m not sure why; they missed the changing colours of pink and lavender and yellow as the sun prepared to rise. Frankly, once the sun popped up above the horizon the best part was over.
And we had our dune to ourselves – peace, silence, solitude. Just the way we like it.
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