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We were greeted by the Namib Desert with an overheating car and 46 degree temperatures. In heat like that, your body screams at you and forces you to seek respite.

We took a note from Aslan’s book and our time in Sossusvlei was characterised by 4am wake ups to explore sunrise against the dunes and midday siestas in the Sossusvlei lodge.

Most visitors to the Sossusvlei area hike dune 45, favouring the gradual ascent in the soft sand. On the advise of Toast Coetzer we hiked the dune directly opposite. Not long in, heaving for breath, we quickly realised why dune 45 was indeed so popular. The soft sand of the dunes is a lung buster, and despite the coolness of the early morning, the steepness of the ascent was incredibly unforgiving. For most of the way up, we climbed in sets of 40 steps, before our point man, making fresh tracks in the soft sand, would capitulate. We leap-frogged for over an hour and a half, with the burning sun rising against our backs, but the view from the top was spectacular.

The view that morning was one I will never forget. From the peak of the 5 million year old sand dune, looking down upon the vast plains and tracing out ancient riverbeds, I can only imagine a similar view from the heights of Space.

One day, perhaps!

– Eugene