The day started at 5am in the Shark Island in Lüderitz. We spent the night there, protected by some huge rocks. The night before we set a fire to cook some meat while hidding from the south Atlantic winds. The night was cold in southernmost town of Namibia. But we had to get up early because a 4×4 trip through orange dunes was waiting us 3,5 hours away through some of the most beautiful desert roads of the world.
The NamibRand Nature Reserve is a private reserve in the southwest of Namibia in the Namib Desert, the oldest desert of the world. It has more than 215,000 hectares and shares the border with the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Coming from the south, the NamibRand Reserve is the first contact with the characteristic orange sand of the Namib Desert.
The sunrise started in front of ourselves after 1h driving towards the east. It was exactly the point where we found the famous wild horses of Aus. The wild horses at Garub were first noted in the 1920s. In their 90 years of existence, their numbers have fluctuated between 50 and 280 horses, droughts and the tough conditions of a desert existence keeping their numbers low. For their first 70–80 years, the horses lived in the protected Sperrgebiet diamond area, which provided sanctuary from hunters and horse capturers. This and a permanent water source have ensured their survival.
After Aus we headed north in order to surround the south part of the Namib Desert. In the middle of nowhere, as always in Namibia, the Kanaan farm, was waiting us. But before that we had to deal with huge amounts of sand on the road. It was difficult to drive but fortunately we didn’t get stuck. And at 10 am we arrived to our destination. Located in a rocky hill with great views of the plain and the desert in the west, the Kanaan farm and lodge is one of the best sites in Namibia to feel the luxury of the loneliness.
While waiting the driver that had to take us towards the dunes, we had a soda and we seized the time to write some lines in our travel logbook. At the same time we enjoyed the views and used our binoculars to spot some wildlife nearby. We were alone, no guests at that time in the lodge. So, the viewpoint and the time belonged only to us.
When the driver arrived we started sailing through shallow dunes like if we were in a ship at the ocean colored in orange. We were looking for wildlife, but also iconic spots to take incredible photos of those unique landscapes.
Suddenly the driver stopped and asked us to no say a word. He was trying to hear something. And then, just after a dune, two Oryx appeared. This animal is huge! More than we expected from previous photos seen in internet. Once you are in front of them, you realize how majestic they are. They looked at us and started walking, dissapearing behind another dune.
We also could get out of the car and try to discover the desert by walking. We saw small bugs running on the hot orange sand, trees living somehow between dunes, other trees already dead, and a landscape that was just the vanguard of what was going to happen the following day with the climb of the talles dunes in the world in Sossusvlei.
After the 4×4 drive we went back to the lodge and we couldn’t leave. That unique spot in the middle of the Namib Desert caught us. So we decided to have lunch with those views and that peace. They offered us meat and cheese from their farm and we thankfuly accepted.
After the lunch we took the car again and headed towards Sossusvlei. We mixed again with the incredible landscapes, mirages and more and more wildlife.
We didn’t know where we would sleep. We knew that if we wanted to be the first people to cross the border of the Namib-Naukluft National Park next day, we had to find a place in the NWR Sesriem Campsite.
Unfortunately, we could not book a campsite in advance because everything was fully booked three months before. So, with nothing booked we drove the 200 km while the sun started going down behind the Namib Desert. The next day is explained in this post. And it was, maybe, the most important day of our lives till today.