Sesriem to Betta – 109km
These dunes are apparently best viewed shortly after sunrise, so we are advised to be ready to leave as the camp gates open at sunrise! (There is a sunset curfew. What if we miss it?)
Day 30 Sesriem to Betta
Sesriem campsite has the advantage of being right at the gates of the Desert National park the gates open at 5.30 am and then there a 60k drive through the desert to reach the spectacular Sossusvlei (gathering place of water), a depression in the desert containing a lake and surrounded by the highest dunes in the world. The idea is to get there at sunrise to see the incredible changing colours unfold.
So we were all up and ready to go at 5.15 Paddy and I set off first and reached the gates 4th in line. We were surprised to find a lack of Bobo campers behind us but later found out they had got lost leaving the campsite so the convoy had to all turn around on mass!
The 60k drive was breathtaking as we penetrated further and further into the desert, the dunes becoming massive and closer to the road. We eventually came to dune 45 to see the fit young people from the overlander that had overtaken us attempting to climb up the spine as dawn started to break.
We pressed on (having nothing to prove in dune climbing) and at 60k reached the end of the road. We then climbed aboard a 4×4 to be driven up a dried out sand river bed to first to an ephemeral salt pan and them to the lake, where we could walk around. Our guide told us that every few years there was enough rain
so that the river flowed and then the flora and fauna was incredible to see,this last happened in 2006.
We were amazed at the signs of wildlife in such a barren terrain. Snake trails and small rodent/rabbit and fox tracks were obvious in the dunes.
After driving the 60k back to the campsite we had a cooked breakfast in the camp bar before heading off to Betta – 123k on sand and dirt roads.
More drama unfolded as 25k short of the camp one of our party blew a tyre (which was difficult to change on a sand road in the baking heat). Everyone rallied round and had just about succeeded when Roland our mechanic arrived. Three of the units set off together leaving Alan (tour leader and Roland to follow up the rear) after awhile it became obvious the we had lost them. It turned out the Alan・s van had broken down and Roland had to tow him to the camp site. At bedtime things were not looking good van still not starting! What will tomorrow bring.