Return to the desert

After a morning being guided round Duwisib Castle in minute detail by the very passionate-about-the-castle manager (complete with SWOT analysis presented to us about the model of running a castle in the middle of nowhere) – we were back on the road, to return to the desert.

This time we knew our destination, we had been there before – Sossusvlei in the Namib desert, famous for its red, rolling dunes.

It was my wish to spend my birthday in the dunes, so we arrived the day before – to get an early night, for a very early start.

We woke up in the dark, at 5.30am, in order to make it to the dunes on time. Picking up our special picnic hamper at reception, we drove the 60 kilometres into the desert as the sun came up on my birthday.

Arriving at the big daddy dune, we set off, climbing the dune, taking in the stunning scenery of the red desert dunes, as far as the eye can see. Far below, the petrified ancient trees of the Deadvlei. This is one of my favourite places in the world.

Once at the top, there’s only one way down – to run down the side of the dune – such an exhilarating thing to do. Racing down in leaps and bounds, sinking in the warm sand with each step, we laughed our way down into the Deadvlei … where a cursory shoe-emptying was needed.

A stroll through the Deadvlei back to the car, and we were unpacking my breakfast hamper. Every type of breakfast yoghurt, fruit, meat and cheese cut you could want, along with juices, tea, mini bottles of champagne. Life was good.

Back at our chalet, I unwrapped my presents, and spent the afternoon wallowing in the pool – a flow-rim beauty overlooking the desert and dunes.

Dinner was at a neighbouring lodge restaurant – a game-meat grill, tables set out in the bush. After an exquisite dinner, I was feel full and lazy – and it turned out it wasn’t over.

All of a sudden, the staff of the lodge were converging on me, singing a very pretty Namibian version of a happy birthday song. Within minutes I had a chocolate cake in front of me, and a veritable African choir singing and dancing surrounding me. I suspect my description can’t reproduce the moment, so special.

What can I say, I think I had the perfect day.

The next morning, we returned to the dunes bright and early for another dune climb – and the chance for me to put my awesome new camera – courtesy of mummy – to the test. I can’t wait to show off my pictures!



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