Connect the dots

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ground Control To Major Tom

Turn here

After vacillating between going and not going, wrecking our Honda Jazz (that's a whole other post), and getting a new all-wheel drive Subaru Forester delivered to our lodge, we finally made the trek through washed out roads, riverbed detours, gravel, more gravel and finally sand.

The aptly named Skeleton Coast was less balmy and beach-y and more like a space odyssey. If you ever wanted to be in Star Wars or walk on the moon, I can only imagine this is as close as you’ll get. Rounded blue-grey boulders sticking out of endless stretches of sand with the ship-wrecking ocean on one side and towering sand dunes on the other. Without the tire tracks, you wouldn't know where the road began or where it ended. This is one of the most inhospitable places in the world. Although there are some surprises on the desolate sandy road – the occasional springbok or oryx and a watering hole surrounded by the reeds, the greenest grass and the lone duck fishing for some lunch.

Boulder jumping

However unfriendly this place is for ships (and even much less swimming or sunbathing), many flock here for the fishing. Kabeljou (kob) and steenbras (pignose grunter) are two of the common fish caught in these waters. After meeting a group of hunters from France (who also were first time anglers), we decided to try our hand at fishing. Our less than enthusiastic guide, the cold, the fog, equipment that took forever to set up, and no catch did not make us new fans of fishing in the least bit.

South of the Skeleton Coast, but still part of the Namib desert are the equally otherworldly, enormous, rusty sand dunes of the Sossusvlei. Although usually depicted as a dry, clay-cracked pan, the copious rainfall has rendered the pan full and the dunes dotted with green.

On Big Mama's back

Climbing Dune 42

Tented camp near Sossusvlei

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