Oranjemund Travel Blog› entry 31 of 36 › view all entries
Two nights here and my biggest fear is realised scorpions!!! I have to admit that I haven't seen one all trip (and I dont see any here either) but I am aware fo them and the fact that they like nice snug warm places. As far as I can tell that describes my sleeping bag to a T! As such I stead Aarons jumper (note not my jumper partly because I dont want to ruin anything of mine and partly because it was the closest thing to hand) and i shove it in the hole in the tent so that they cant creap in during the night. I am refusing to wake up next to a scorpion!
The first bit of being at our new camp site is taken up with putting up the tents and exploring yet another area, it was my turn to cook (again! The group getting smaller means more nights of cooking! At least there are supermarkets here so we can get some quite interesting and normal food but no goat) and then its an early night, we are up at four!
I am not bad at getting up in the mornings but at 4am and when it is so cold you think your tent was picked up in the night and moved to a different (sub zero) country the last thing on earth you want to do is get out of your sleeping bag and get dressed. With many comments like I thought Africa was supposed to be warm and grumbling I do just that and we get on the truck (still wrapped in my sleeping bag). We drive for about half an hour through the most amazing landscape that you can only just make out in the dark, there are huge sand dunes either side of us and for a moment you feel so small and insignificant. Then we stop at what I have decided is the largest one! We got up this early in the morning to climb it and watch the sun rise from the top, this would be hugely romantic if there weren't 300 other people doing it at the same time.
I must be honest and say that I did not make it to the top, the thing about climbing sand dunes is it is hard work, your feet sink and you slip backwards if you stop for even half a second it really is a case of two steps forwards one step back. Not only that but it is very high and very steep (there were people literally crawling up there on all fours) , add this to my not feeling well, my bad knee, it being 4.30 am and the cold and there was not a hope in hell of me climbing the whole way up. Insread Aaron and I picked a nice stop about half way and sat there (this also meant less distence to go down which while easier is still hard on the legs). The view was amazing and you can literally see the sun moving as it comes over the top of the sand dunes opposite us, Aaron and I huddled close for warmth and just watched in amazement.
After trecking all the way back down again, we put on a kettle made some tea and breakfast and a few trips to the toilet - which I have to mention because it was literally a hut in the middle of the dessert between the sand dunes and EVERYONE could see where you were going! Then we went back into the truck and headed for the dead valley.
You get to an area where there are loads of trucks and everyone parks up together and then you pay to get a seat in these special 4x4 vehicals (as the sand is so soft most things would sink and not get anywhere). Once in them you drive through some more of the moons landscape and then they drop you off where it is about 1.5 km walk from the valley. by this point all those layers I put on at 4am are starting to seem a bit silly (as does my wolly hat) as I remember we are in the middle of the dessert and it is rather warm. The dead valley is beautiful and rather self explainitory (except to the odd american man that walked past us asking his other half "I wonder why they call it the dead valley") in that it is full of dead tress as it used to be a beutiful green area and has since been eaten up by the dessert. one day the trees will be gone and it will just be another patch of sand, but for now it is errie in its beauty (although the atmospher is lessened by the many tourists).
Aaron and I just sat for a while, talking and playing sand pictionary, while watching the three lads climb yet another sand dune as a race (like one wasn't enough for one dayor a life time!) I took my shoes and socks of and it was great feeling having desert sand between my toes. Then we headed back to where the 4x4 had dropped us off (after a mad dash to the loo for Aaron adn as there was no toilet paper a sock had to do!). The 4x4 drove us further into the dessert to another area, equally beautiful and interesting but by this time we realised why you need water in a dessert and so stayed for only a short while sitting in the shade (waiting for the others to climb another thing) and then we went back to the truck.
Once back at the campsite a dip in the (very cold) pool was definitely called for and much enjoyed. Some were broing and refused to join us (they might have been cooking dinner) but the rest of us loved it and once in its hard to get out again. Another peaceful evening looking at the stars (oh how I will miss them) and then an early night.