Up and packed up by 5 am and awaiting at the gate for our adventure to Deadvlei, Dune 45 and Elin Dune. Seeing the amazing colours on the dunes as the sun rose, so red, beautiful and enchanting.
Our first encounter of deep sand driving was not very successful as we got stuck in deep sand up to the axle. we tried digging ourselves out but there was no chance were we moving it on our own.
Dave at least smiled when he saw a number of other cars getting bogged down further back, so were not the only ones.
A word of advice here. The sign says as you enter the final couple of kilometres to Deadvlei that you should only continue if you have 4 wheel drive. What it did not say was deep sand and to engage diff lock. So beware and think carefully before making your decision to drive the full distance and not using the safari trucks that run continuously back and forth.
Thankfully one of the safari trucks stopped and offered to assist us in a couple of hours and that we should jump on his truck and go enjoy the dunes and Deadvlei and they said they would take us back to the truck when we were ready and help us to get it out. Of course we were charged the going rate for the short trip to the car park at Deadvlei.
Because we stayed at Sesriem Camp that is within the National Park you get to leave earlier than the other visitors of the day. This offers an enchanting opportunity to enjoy a beautiful and tranquil experience that would be hard to repeat any where else.
We climbed our first dune which was at much of an effort as we thought it would be (2 steps forward one step back) but the views and colours were amazing and at the top we looked down on Deadvlei.
We climbed down and sat at the edge and took in the spooky, calming and peaceful feeling it gave, the black trees against the red dunes and the blue blue sky definitely worth the early rise.
Deadvlei is a clay pan characterised by dark, dead camel thorn trees contrasted against the white pan floor. The pan was formed when the Tsauchab River flooded and the abundance of water allowed camel thorn trees to grow. However, the climate changed and the sand dunes encroached on the pan, blocking the river from reaching the area. The trees are estimated to be approximately 900 years old, however they have not decomposed due to the dry climate.
Thankfully and as promised a few hours later the Safari Truck team collected us and the two other couples who had got stuck and took us back to our vehicle. It was all very amusing as the safari transport got stuck too when he tried to manoeuvre into a towing position and this made us all feel less of an amateur.
Eventually with a bit more digging, pushing and rocking and rolling they managed to get us out and we made it back to a normal road. We learnt a few important lessons that morning and which later in the trip would prove invaluable as you will see.
Next was Dune 45 the highest of the dunes and as it was now getting hot we decided to walk around the bottom, one dune was enough to climb but we got some great photos including Dave doing Sand Angels.
We did a quick visit to Elin dune and then back to camp to chill for a while before we headed to Sesriem Canyon late in the afternoon.
Sesriem Canyon was nice to get out of the direct sun and into the shade the canyon walls offered. From the road you would not even know it was there, we climbed down in the canyon and walked through all the rock formations.
After we returned back to Sesriem to set up the tent and camp. An early nite for us after a couple of beers exhausted and a BBQ. Although as we were getting set up to head to bed a Cape Fox came round to see if we had left him anything from the BBQ. Sadly he carried on to the next pitch to try his luck there.