Our room has a very interesting skylight located right above the bed, so when I wake in the middle of the night I find myself stargazing. It’s just beautiful, and we are lucky because the moon is on the wane, so it’s just stars that I see.
We had to get up at 5:30 am so we could bundle off with Jonas and the Russians to see the famous sand dunes. It was cold, and Barry and I wore our parkas and hats. It was also foggy, which obscured some of the mountains on our drive. It took about an hour to get to the Sossusvlei National Park, then it’s another 65 km for two-wheel drive vehicles to a car park where people often stop to climb Dune 45 (the dunes are numbered by their distance from from the park gate, so Dune 45 is 45 km fro the entrance). We were in a four-wheel drive truck, so we were able to drive the last 4 km of road to the “Big Daddy” dune and the “Big Momma” dune. There was a SAAB or something that was seriously stuck a few hundred yards after the car park.
The fog had lifted sufficiently that we had a clear view of our surroundings, and we could definitely see the top of all the dunes, which rise up to 350 m above ground. We trudged along in the red, red sand and made it up about a quarter of Big Daddy. I wasn’t really thrilled about making it to the top of anything, but neither was anybody else. The Russian Germans followed Ronnie to another ridge where they apparently had a view of a dried-up lake.
By the time we all got down from the dune and reassembled, it was about 10 am. Ronnie found a picnic spot and pulled out tablecloths and tins of food, and he even had a gas-powered frying pan for making scrambled eggs and bacon. We all applauded when he put on an apron. It was a good breakfast.
This desert supports some sparse wildlife. As well as oryx and springbok, we also seen ostriches, jackals, and two secretary birds. There were also some lovely sparrows trying to get the crumbs of our breakfast this morning. By the time we had finished eating, the fog had broken up into willowy clouds and then dissipated altogether.
We were tired on our way back to the lodge and planned to spend the afternoon relaxing and packing. Ronnie has something in store for us this evening and we were told to wear warm clothes when we meet him at 7. Dinner under the stars, perhaps? We've both been feeling overfed and under exercised, though somehow Barry's fit bit manages to register 10,000 steps for every jouncy game ride. His computer will be impressed once we get home and he synchs it to his fit bit, for sure.
Tomorrow will be a long 24 or 36 hours. We fly a bush plane to Windhoek, then transfer to British Airways for a commercial flight to Johannesburg. From there, we fly another British Airways to London and then a United Airways flight home to San Francisco. I’m pretty sure I’ll be dead on my feet and pretty much a walking zombie until our puppy, Bobbo-san, comes home. Both Barry and I are homesick for him and hope he’ll be as happy to see us as we will be to see him!