• Ndapanda Haininga

The road to Deadvlei.


If you follow me on Twitter, and you totally should, you know Deadvlei has been on my bucket list for some time now. Procrastination and several other factors have however always made me hesitant.


The condition of the roads, the distance, the heat, and like any other budget conscious traveler, the finances.


Like Nike though, I woke up one day and decided to just do it.




I don’t believe in fate, but having someone I follow on Instagram visit southern Namibia just as I was contemplating my trip was a sign from black Jesus himself. You can’t convince me otherwise.


I immediately slid in to her DM and the rest was history.



It took me less than two days to make up my mind.


Two weeks later, we were up and about, getting lost on empty gravel roads, looking to experience an original once-in-a-lifetime Namibian New Year's Eve.


Boy did we get it!


We spent the night at Gondwana's Dune Star Camp. A camp whose main attraction is a one night only experience under the stars. That's what they sell, a night under the stars. Well worth your money!



Picture this; You're in bed, watching the sun set, reflecting on the year you've had and sharing plans for the next. Phones tucked away, no distractions, just you and the love of your life. Its magic.



On the flip side, you wake up to the most beautiful sunrise and delicious cups of coffee made available by the Camp's friendly staff.


Like I said, worth your money.



We ticked Dune Star off our bucket list and headed to Deadvlei the next morning. That was perhaps our first mistake. (I’ll get into it later)


The drive was fairly smooth, the roads are gravel but decent, definitely not sedan friendly but quite decent.


We got to the park entrance and paid a fee of less than N$40 p/p for permits.



The road was tar from the park gates, that was a relief. The views in-between are perhaps the most beautiful you will experience in Namibia.


The contrast between the blue skies and the red dunes, and that between the dunes and the somewhat white sand? A photographer’s dream.


It’s here. That contrasting beauty we sing about in our National anthem? This is where you find it.



The tar road ends at a pit stop where you have the option to either take a shuttle, or drive yourself (granted you have a 4x4).


Guys, we had a 4x4 and opted to self drive, it almost got tricky.

Please take the shuttle. If you have no experience driving through sand, save yourself and take the shuttle. Shuttles are driven by more experienced drivers and will ensure you get there safe.



It was NOT easy, but we made it. We got to another stop where we now had to walk. Cars are prohibited because it's an endangered area that needs to be preserved.


This is is fairly easy if you’re fit. I'm not, but I wasn’t going to let that discourage me. Do you know how long I’ve had Deadvlei on my bucket list?

We got our sunscreen on, water bottles out the coolbox and started the walk. This is where we realized we should have driven much earlier.


It was hot.


Hot.


It was hot hot.


Imagine the worst heat you've ever experienced, then double that. Guys, the south is hot.


Fortunately, we forgot all of this once we got over the last dune and got a peak of Deadvlei. It was everything I had imagined.



It felt dead, but somehow still alive.


It was like walking into a painting I had admired for years.


Ethereal.


Please go see Deadvlei guys.


It's as beautiful as the pictures you've seen, it's as out of this world as tourists describe, and it's as close as you'll get to an 8th wonder of the world.


Here are some tips that should make your trip easier.


Please carry a map. Signage from Rehoboth is quite weak, but it gets easier as you go.

Try to go either before sunrise, or close to sunset to avoid the heat. It gets really hot.

Pack your sunblock and carry lots of iced water. I almost died from the heat on our way back.

Try to travel in a group. It was just two of us when we went and things got tricky when we got a tyre puncture.


When you do go, my darlings, remember that there is no such thing as too many pictures.



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