Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Walking Into A Dream

Sessreim Canyon
Something was pulling me, something very strong, something deep, something I couldn't escape. It was another trip to Namibia where the vast expanses of nothingness, where everywhere is in the middle of nowhere just captures my imagination and curiosity---I had to go! Starting out for a few days in Swakopmund, a quaint hamlet with the ambience of a tiny colonial German Village---a perfect little gem where I replenished on decent food, had a good haircut, gazed at the sea, and communed with some dolphins and coffee shops. But I really didn't come here for Swakopmund, as cute as it is—We ventured out on Namibia's roads where vanishing point shimmers and blends into the sky like a never ending illusion to wind up in my dream world of Sossusvlei.

Officially, Sossusvlei is the name of a large salt and clay pan located inside the Namib-Naukluft National Park. The towering dunes of Sossusvlei topped it pretty quickly. They are preposterously beautiful, and I was gasping in amazement at the lofty mountainous shapes and luxuriant widening landscapes changing colors in the rising and setting sun. We made the ascent of an arm of the Big Mama Dune, one of the highest dunes in the world---but we did not get to climb Big Daddy---the biggest in the world.  We ate under such clear constellations in the sky. We drove and hiked in the Namib Park where animals, such as Oryx and Ostrich wander the gently rolling landscape, and wild vistas are never out of reach. We communed with Cheetahs, posed for posterity at the universal landmark of the Tropic of Capricorn, and all too soon, we left the desert and my frothy cappuccinos behind as if it were a dream.

In a country overflowing with surreal scenery that pushes the boundaries of what you think the earth can look like, Sossusvlei is perhaps the most peculiar. Sand is piled at its greatest heights and trees that have been dead for centuries (I was told 900 years) still stand in a dried up marsh. They call it Dead Vlei.  Sessreim canyon is also other worldly, as was the sky that was so dark you can't even imagine and where shooting stars were occurring at an alarming rate---I got a lot of wishes in!

Namibia makes me wonder what it might have been like when life began, when exploration and discovery were firsts for all humankind, and with no assurance of a road sign or set destination,with no clue where, or if, the desert would end. I didn't want to leave it, I wanted to just hunker down to take it all in, and keep going and get lost in this surreal country called Namibia. It seems like each and every turn I take, whether it be hiking in Lesotho, a safari in Moremi, the Serengetti, South Luangwa, meandering through Cape Town, or just listening to the voices in my village, I become increasingly fascinated by the magic of Africa!

Big Mama Dune

Desert Camp

Kelly, Me, Maureen

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