Road Trip Namibia part 1: Kolmanskop and Sossusvlei

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Here is a post from our Guest Blogger Simon Marynissen from Antwerp, Belgium.
Note: Simon did an internship with African Agenda and Africa Bespoke in Cape Town as part of his studies. He took some time out to go exploring and chose to visit Namibia. this is the first in a 3 part series on Simon’s journey.
Thanks for the great posts Simon. Ed.
ps. I have been meaning to post this since June after Simon’s return from Namibia, but I somehow lost the pics in between hard drives and memory sticks.

I have always wanted to go to Namibia, thanks to a Belgian fiction series on television. During my internship in Cape Town, I had the opportunity to go with three other people on a self-drive holiday to the Southern part of Namibia. 11 days in total we explored this attractive country of sand and dust. May is also one of the best months to visit Namibia. You don’t have the extreme temperatures during the day, but a very agreeable 25° – 30°.

Simon soaking up a hot dry bath in true Kolmanskop style!!

Our first exciting stop was the Ghost Town “Kolmannskuppe”, a couple of kilometers from Luderitz. This old mining town occurs an array of ruinous old houses, villas, buildings. The sand has taken over this place and creates a very spooky atmosphere. An ideal location for a horror movie. After a visit of two hours we drove via gravel road to the Sesriem Camp Site. During our journey we met lots of Namibian wildlife such as jackals, zebras, springboks, gemsboks, ostriches, wild horses and so on.

The next day we visited THE highlight of Namibia: Sossusvlei. The day started very early, at half past six we watched the sunrise on the top of Dune 45. Named because the dune is situated 45 kilometers from Sesriem. The dune was much higher than I expected. In the beginning I tried to run up the dune but after five minutes I was really exhausted. Each step up results in one step down, so actually it is quite hard to climb dunes especially if you are the first “climber” of the day and cannot make use of existing footsteps.

Simon jumping for joy, having made it to the top of Dune 45 at Sossusvlei.

The sunrise was magnificent! The dunes colored brown, red, orange and yellow! You really have to been there to experience what I am writing! After the sunrise we went to Sossusvlei. We parked our car at the parking because the last 5 kilometers are only applicable for 4WD, so we hitchhiked these last kilometers. After a couple of minutes a 4WD with two Slovak women offered us a ride. Approximately one minute later, we were stuck into the deep sand. With some other passers by we tried to pull and push the 4WD out of this miserable situation. After half an hour we released the car, but we preferred to walk the last part to Sossusvlei instead of hitchhiking!

I already went to the Sahara one year ago, but the Namibian desert is the real stuff. Huge mountains of sand as far as the eye can see, the silence, the dead trees of Deadvlei, it was amazing! Also something remarkable are the temperatures. During the morning I was freezing my feet off due to the cold sand and six hours later I was burning my feet because of the heat. If you visit the area during the morning, there will be a lot of other tourists but in the afternoon (when it’s quite hot) you are really the only one in the desert and it gives a real feeling of desolation!

Part 2 to follow: Naukluft Mountain Park, Solitaire and Namib Naukluft.

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