Sunrise over the Namib Desert

One of our most travelled Tucan Travel team members shares her thoughts on her favourite place in Africa:

Working at Tucan Travel, I have been fortunate to see many countries but Namibia definitely has to be one of my favourites. It is packed full of wonderful things to see and do. One of the best places we visit on our journey from Victoria Falls to Cape Town along the Western coastline of Namibia is Sesriem.

After crossing the Tropic of Capricorn as we head South from Swakopmund, we explore the Sesriem Canyon, a natural canyon carved by the Tsauchab River as it carves through the sedimentary rock. The name Sesriem is Afrikaans and means “six belts”, given by settlers who had to tie together six belts in order to lower buckets down into the canyon to scoop up water. An amazing variety of wildlife had adapted to the harsh conditions here, and you may see rock pigeon, crow, starling and owl, as well as various species of lizard.

We camp overnight in the beautiful Namib-Naukluft National Park, and very early the next morning, I wake the tour group up and drive to Dune 45. This is a large star dune in the Namib Desert. Standing over 170m, it is composed of sand that is 5 million years old, accumulated in the Kalahari Desert to the East and then blown here. We take a short walk up to the top of the dune for sunrise.

It is normally a little cold as we start to climb in the dark. As you reach the top you feel the warmth of the sun rising on your skin, and watch the sand change colour from a dark brown to a deep red and finally to a glorious warm orange. It is always so peaceful up there, watching the desert waking up and the insects starting to scurry across the sand. After watching one of the world’s most beautiful sunrises, we then slip and slide down the dune to tuck into a cooked breakfast. It is such a beautiful place, and a great start to the day.

After breakfast, we depart Sesriem for Fish River Canyon, one of the world’s largest canyons. It is quite breath-taking in its immensity and is rivalled only by the Grand Canyon in North America for sheer grandeur. We park at the viewpoint overlooking the canyon and from there you can take a short walk around the top, stopping along the way for photos of the incredible views.

The Fish River running through the bottom of the canyon is one of Namibia’s few permanent rivers and beautiful turquoise pools can be seen in the distance during the dry season. As you walk and enjoy the colours of the rugged scenery, you may be lucky enough to spot hardy mountain animals in the distance, as well as numerous bird species. We normally have lunch up here, surrounded by the immense rugged scenery.

By Jac McPherson

Tucan Travel operate numerous Overland Tours which travel through the vast and dramatic landscapes of Africa. Click here to find out more.

 

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