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Living the Beautiful life at Agama

sunny 36 °C
View Trip of the Half Century on IronladyTravels's travel map.

A small editorial note before I begin. Posting blogs as always becomes a choke point as it requires stable wifi. And even when we are stationary, we don’t spend much time in our room. There are places to explore, beaches to walk on, pools to swim in, meals to eat. I try to take notes during the day but the roads are so damn bumpy (or the suspension so poor on the vehicle) that my already atrocious handwriting becomes so cryptic that an enigma machine is superfluous. I am also trying to incorporate photos that Paul or Ben has taken but it is a major pain in the arse to have to get them into my photo album and then go through the process of uploading. Yes, clearly, patience is still a virtue which I have yet to obtain. Today, I’m actually trying to type on my chrome book but I am in the back of the mini-bus so it is (a) quite bumpy which increases the number of typos (and chances that desert will become dessert) and (b) I am touch typing as I stare out the window in an effort to not get bus sick.

Agama Camp was literally an oasis in all sense of the word. It felt very much like we were living the life of Beautiful People. I could get used to it being my base camp. Perhaps I could figure out a way to generate income by generating social media content or running an mission outreach for tourists (finding God in the desert has a biblical feel, no?) I’m sure there must be mennonite youth groups looking for mission projects with ambiance. Maybe I could combine my social media and mission project ventures to really hit the entrepreneurial sweet spot. I would need to sort out my tech issues, however, as I have discovered the only thing that worked with any reliability was Whatsapp - which is an app I prefer to not use as it is “leaky”. Very oddly, texting doesn’t even work.
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We were at Agama for Sunday afternoon, all day Monday and then left Tuesday morning. Monday was a full and hot day exploring the desert (although I discovered later that there are four distinct zones to the Namib desert … but I’ll geek out more about that later). We headed out early (turnaround about 300 metres down the road to get our lunches) so that we could be at the gates to Soussvlei Dunes when they opened. The goal was to climb Dune 45 before it got too hot.

Dune 45 is 300 metres high and is, as my boys determined, the most climbed dune because it is closest to the road and has better bathroom facilities. :) And 300 metres is measured from sea level so it sounds way more impressive than it is. That said, we climbed up the ridge to the highest peak. Ben of course ran ahead while I plodded huffing and puffing. Props to the other people in our group who made it up. Poor R was quite crushed to discover he could only make it half way up the first section. He is 75 years old! The boys jumped their way down while I played the role of official photographer. I followed (with no one documenting my more sedate progress). I was a bit nervous about wrenching a knee or ankle as one sinks more than ankle deep in the sand. I had visions of doing a tumble (or as the aussies would say - going Axx over Txxx down the hill) but having my feet stuck in sand and having a joint bend in a direction that it should not.
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We climbed barefoot as the sand was still cool. Pro-tip - if you point your toes slightly, you can slide your foot into the sand which gives better traction and gets you into cooler sand.

I tried to take some photos but it is so hard to capture the depth and contouring of the dunes. Google Soussvlei or Dune 45 and I’m sure someone has some great drone shots.

At the base of the dune, we saw a pied crow and a kestrel.

After Dune 45, we headed farther down the road to see the Deadvlei where there are trees that have been dead for 900 years but are well preserved because of the claypan and very dry heat. (I’m sure in Ken Ham’s version, the flood took them out and the sand dunes were created by the swirling water action). Beside the DeadVlei is “Big Daddy” dune which is even higher than Duneds 45 so Ben and Jonathan climbed it as well. Our guide was very proud that all of our group made it to the ridge to see the Deadvlei. It wasn’t a long walk but there was a gradual incline. And by 11am, it was well over 30 degrees.
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We had to leave our vehicle down the road from the Deadvlei and travel back in open safari vehicles. Our driver, clearly inspired by the enthusiastic whooping of both my children and 75 year old R, ripped along climbing dune and fishtailing.
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By this stage, I was ready for lunch but, as I’m discovering, we usually don’t eat until after 1pm. Instead, we drove to a small canyon (the Sesriem) and climbed down in. It is not very deep or tricky to get down to and it was blissfully cool at the bottom. I thought of my various geology or environmental science friends who would have had a grand time looking at the walls as you could clearly see the passage of time. The walls also looked like an early concrete - small bits of rubble/pebbles held together with a sand/sedimentary material. It looked like it would crumble but, as the boys and I discovered as we climbed up walls and into small caves, it was super solid.
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We finally stopped to eat at a camp area - where there were bathrooms and a small store/canteen. I felt grimy and dusty and should have visited the loo just to splash cool water on my face and hands. Our “packed lunch” from the camp was less than great. We had a choice of burgers, wraps or wings. But all eaten cold and multiple hours after being prepared. Call me a princess but I like my fries hot and crisp and my wraps not soggy.

There was a huge weaver bird nest.
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We finally returned to Agama where we all made haste in jumping in the still freeing cold pool. Although the spanish ladies had moved on, the pool was busy with two german families. The younger children were doing what hungry and tired children do.

Because we were stationary for 2 days, I took opportunity to do some hand washing (using dry laundry strips from Home Hardware - see, I’m working sponsorship possibilities into my blog). But I did covet my neighbors plastic drying thingy with clips - I have a much clumsier version at home from Ikea that I didn’t bring but this one looked like it was a flat rectangular one.

At the pool in the afternoon back at camp, we chatted with one dad of the german families who we had also seen out at the Dunes. Like the Cape Peninsula, there is a obvious tourist circuit in Namibia and so you end up bumping into the same people at spot after spot. This particular family had lived in Kenosha Wisconsin for a while (dad’s work headquarters) but now lived in Stuttgart which is the Detroit of Germany - minus the gangs, inner city violence and poverty. Like tourists everywhere, we swapped stories of where we have been and where we are going.

Posted by IronladyTravels 16:30 Archived in Namibia

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