Monday, 21 March 2016

The Deadvlei

The Deadvlei is probably the most iconic image of Namibia.  You might recognize the photo even if you never knew where it was taken.  Why do tourists flock to look at trees that have long since died?  Because it's haunting and spectacular.    

 If you've rented a car and are driving around on your own I should warn you that your car will not make it to the Deadvlei.  You'll have to leave your car behind and take one of the sand transport vehicles beyond the reaches of the paved roads.  Hold on, it's a bumpy ride.  

It's about a ten minute ride until you're let off the vehicle at the base of the sand dunes and instructed to walk "that way" into the desert.  If there hadn't been others returning, I would've been sceptical of these instructions.  The thought of getting lost in the desert is terrifying.  

But off we went in the hot midday sun, over one dune and then the next for about 20 minutes until we made it over the last dune and arrived at a clearing - the Deadvlei. 

 At some point in time this was a lush oasis with a river and green leafy trees, but now it has all dried up and left behing this incredible scene.  My group was fortunate to behold this scene without many other tourists, so we got to enjoy its quietness and mystery without having to juggle for position.  

The blue sky, golden sand and dried white riverbed are the perfect backdrop for the dark grey of the dead trees.  The air was still and dry and the sun was hot on my skin.  I couldn't help but wonder how anything green had ever survived here, even for a short while. 

Luckily once you've had a chance to soak it all in it's just a short walk over the dunes and back to a transport.  

Don't forget to wear a hat, lather on the sunblock and take a bottle of water  with you before you head out.  You won't find any shelter or water out there.