Let me point out that sand dunes are NOT easy to walk up. For every step you take, you slide back half of a step in the loose sand. Some of these can be REALLY steep as well. Our first experience with dunes was in Sossusvlei- home of the highest sand dunes in the world. These were amazing. We got up before sunrise (I’d like to point out that we did this 5 out of 7 days in our last week in Africa) and drove to the national park in Sossusvlei. We had to get there at sunrise in order to experience the amazing shadows and colors that occur in the early morning hours. I’d definitely say this part of the trip (specifically this day) allows me to cross off number 42 on my 101 list… Watch the sunrise.
We headed directly to Dune 45 which is one of the easiest dunes to access from the road. There were tons of people there trying to get a glimpse of this amazing wonder. We all decided to walk up the dune. More hills… I wasn’t thrilled; HOWEVER, this wasn’t a mountain- it was a sand dune. It would be totally different and really amazing at the top. I just knew it. Well, I got about halfway up and thought I was going to die. I’m not afraid of heights by any means but I think the combination of my heart pounding, my breath racing and the 45 degree angle drop to my left sent me into a panic. I pretty much freaked out and couldn’t look anywhere but straight down at my feet. I had to walk back down. I sucked. I did have the chance to get pretty high up, but I didn’t really take the time to enjoy it because I was too busy having a mild panic attack. The rest of the group kept climbing to the very top and once they were up there, they were all brave enough to run down the side of the dune. In my anxious state, I was unable to even contemplate joining them on this adventure but now I am sad I didn’t. I was able to calm down on all other dunes and those were quite fun to run and sandboard down (which I’ll post about later).
Here are some amazing photos of our first day at the Sossusvlei dunes.
What we were about to climb:
See the little tiny person at the tippy top in the photo below? I made it to about there before I freaked out and had to walk down. You can’t really tell, but in the back it curves and gets even higher. That’s where the rest of the group made it to. If you look closely at the top left of the dune, you can see some people running down the side.
These photos give you some perspective of how high up we were (and the slope of the dune):
Here are a few of Andrew running down from the very top of Dune 45. It’s pretty much impossible to fall down the dune. You just sink into the sand so it’s completely safe to run down. I was still too wussy to do it on this big one though.
Up next… sandboarding (down MORE dunes)!