Tuesday was a full day of driving. We slept, listened to music, played Angry Birds on the iPad and looked out the window at the barren wasteland that is the majority of Namibia.
In fact, we were in such a rush to cover the 600 km to our next campsite that we stopped for only 30 minutes to eat a quick roadside lunch of sandwiches. Of course Tarynne took the short time outside to capture a few photos.
At about 4:30 in the afternoon we rolled into our campsite, Boesman’s Farm, which is positioned on the edge of the Namib Desert. With the temperature easily in the mid-30s we quickly pitched our tent and headed straight for the pool.
After a two hour pool and beer session, a dinner of chicken stew was served for us under the stars. While we ate our guide Prosper informed us that we all had to be up at 4 a.m. the next morning and ready to leave by 4:30 so we could drive from our camp to the most photographed sand dune in the world, Dune 45, to watch the sunrise.
With such an early wake up call when we were done eating we took one last dip in the pool with the Milky Way brightly glowing above our heads and the light of the moon glittering off the surface of the pool.
Tired from a long drive and refreshed from the pool’s cool water we went to bed early looking forward to waking up to watch the sunrise in the desert.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
4 a.m. came quickly on Wednesday, but after only a few minutes of lying dopey-eyed in the tent we shuffled to our feet and put on some warm clothes appropriate to wear in the desert during the dark of night.
By 4:30 the whole group was inside the truck and we were cruising through the desert on our way to Dune 45.
Just after 5 a.m., with the endless expanse of sand around us still cloaked in darkness, our truck came to a grinding halt.
As we disembarked the truck the first sliver of light began to creep over the sand dunes in the distance and glisten off the face of Dune 45, which loomed before us.
With the sun beginning to rise across the Namib Desert, we took off our shoes and hurried toward to the base of the sand dune to start the 108 meter barefoot climb to the top.
At times our feet sank almost knee high into the cold dark sand making the climb extremely difficult, especially on an empty stomach with no food or caffeine as fuel.
The trek to the top took almost 20 minutes with a few stops along the way to catch our breath. Fortunately, we made it to the summit in plenty of time to see the sun gracefully ease its way into the sky above the sand dunes in the distance.
As we sat of the peak of Dune 45 with the red desert sand between our toes, we watched the slowly rising sun send sharp rays of light upward into the scattered clouds above and its orange glow reflect off the face of the sand dunes around us.
We stayed on the top of Dune 45 taking in the breathtaking view for more than an hour before making our way back down to the truck where breakfast awaited us.
After a few cups of coffee and with our bellies full of beans on toast, we played catch with our football in the desert before heading back to camp to pack up our tent.
By 12:30 p.m. our tent was packed aboard the truck and we were on the road again with 410 km between us and the city of Swakopmund, our next destination in Namibia.
Nearly two and a half hours into the journey and about 300 meters before the Tropic of Capricorn, the back right tire of our truck tore into pieces. So we had to pull over while Prosper and our driver Kumba worked under the heat of the afternoon sun to fit the spare tire.
The flat tire actually turned out to be a good thing, because while we stood on the side of the road Tarynne and I both had sudden and severe stomach issues.
Conveniently we were able to discretely deal with these issues in a “snake free” area of the brush. Good thing we brought that pack of wet wipes.
With the full-sized spare tire securely fitted we piled back into the truck and continued the drive toward Swakopmund.
Finally, after hours of driving on a bumpy dirt road, we pulled into the coastal city of Swakopmund at about seven in the evening.
We are actually not camping for the next two nights and are instead staying in a dorm room at a hostel near the center of town.
Tonight we plan on going out to dinner with the group before getting our Jersey Shore on and hitting up our first ever Namibian night club.