Leslie, Val and grandson Liam (almost 14 years old) left Seattle in the early evening, and 8 hours later it was afternoon in London. We had a 9 hour layover which gave us enough time to ‘do’ London! We took the fast (i.e. expensive) train to Paddington and then the tube to Trafalgar Square. We stood far below the feet of Admiral Nelson and gazed at the epic scale of English architecture. We wandered the narrow streets, and marveled at an English construction worker with huge arms lifting 5 meter-long iron pipes straight up until he had the bottom in one hand and then he inserted the end of this pipe into the top of a previous pipe as he constructed a 4 story high scaffolding. Two fun hours were spent at Covent Garden watching the crazy street performers and wandering in a flowery installation that we found inside the world’s fanciest ladies’ shoe shop. We found the numerous Londoners we spoke with so friendly and helpful.
Zipping back to Heathrow, we then flew straight south overnight for 10,000 km, arriving in Johannesburg in the early morning. We exchanged money for a mountain of Rand and flew an hour longer to Winhoek, the capital of Namibia. Dinner that evening set the stage for future evenings,we learned, as exhaustion set in. The lovely waitress showed up with two pillows which fit nicely under Liam’s drooping head.
Now we are ready to start our explorations.
Day 1 is a long drive (300 km) on the ‘wrong’ side of the road in our little diesel 4 wheel drive Renault, working our way up and down it’s 6 manual shift gears. Our goal is the extraordinary sand dunes near the Atlantic coast at Sossusvlei. We see our first wild African animals when we spot two Chachma baboons beside the desolate road. Just what are these huge nests that often nearly envelope a tree? Closer observation at our desert camp showed little birds flying in carrying stems of grass and tucking the grass into their overflowing homes. Some of these birds were deplorables as these aberrant individuals would fly from their hole to the top of the mass, steal a stem and take it for themselves. We decide that they are Republicans in the Trump style. Around us are sand dunes in colors, shapes and scales, such as you have never seen. At times we see usually distant ornyx, a desert antelope that never needs to drink water, and handsome springbok.
The gallery of photos below were chosen by Liam and Leslie. Photos taken by all three of us.
After two days we drove north. For some 6 hours of bouncing on the dusty and rutted roads we watched the deserted desert. The only other travelers were tourists usually being driven by various tour companies. We saw a few such vehicles each hour. They were always going faster than us and when they came from behind and shot past us we lost visibility in the blinding dust.
Now we are in Swakomund, the adventure center of Namibia – think Queenstown, NZ, but in the oldest and likely driest desert in the world.
This page was uploaded with minimal internet from Twyfelfontein Country Lodge.