Sunday, November 8, 2015

Friday, November 6, 2015: Drive from Swakopmund to Sossusvlei

We were up relatively early because we do not know how long it will take us to get to our reservation for tonight.  It will be a fairly long drive today.  By the time we have packed our suitcases, paid our bill, said goodbye to Yvonne at Desert Villa Guesthouse, we were on the road by 8:00.  The first 30 km to Walvis Bay was on hard surface road, but the rest of the drive today was on gravel, 350 km of gravel!!  Some of the gravel is well maintained so we could go around 50 - 65 mi/hr (80-110 km/hr), while other places it was washboards so it 20 mi/hr (30-40 km/hr).  After driving around 200 km we reached Kuiseb Canyon, the impressive canyon we flew over yesterday.  We drove right down to the bottom of the canyon and back out.  It was a very picturesque drive. It was interesting to see the canyon both from above and from ground level.
Dune 7 Near Walvis Bay

Grader on the Road

Gravel, Gravel and more Gravel

A Dried River with Trees

View across the Desert

We drove through three Mountain passes - Kuiseb, Gamsberg and Spreetshoogte The view at the top of Spreetshoogte was spectacular. Due to the direction we were traveling, the descendant off Spree    Pass was extremely steep.  To our surprise, when we began to descend the road surface was totally bricked, all the way to the bottom of the pass.  We assume this was done because it would be impossible to maintain a good driving surface. The gravel would wash out or become very corrugated on such a steep grade. Considering where all we went today, the gravel, the slow winding passes, we did well with our time.
Kuiseb Canyon

Gamsberg Pass

A Farm in the Desert

Spreetshoogte Pass

Brick Road Ahead

We are in an extremely remote part of Namibia, so fuel stations/restaurants/convenience stores are not around. Maybe 200 hundred miles apart, if that often.   We did see 4 road graders working on the gravel roads, which was encouraging 

We arrived at our lodge by 4:00 pm, relieved to be there. They met us at our car with cool washcloths to wash our faces and hands – so refreshing after the dusty drive on the gravel.  When in the reception area we were given a refreshing drink of fruit juice, after which they gave us an orientation to their lodge.  It was tea time, so we had to stop for tea and sweets before going to our chalet!  An hour before we arrived the electricity went off and everything was running on generator!!! Not yet again!!!   There is no AC, so the chalet is quite warm.  After taking a nap and working on the blog we went to dinner at 7:30. Many of the lodges have their own chef, but they do not have a variety on the menu.  Everyone has the same thing which tonight was first a creamy soup, followed by a small salad, then the main dish which was bobotie (a baked minced ground beef dish), with vegetables and rice, finishing it off with banana cake.  It was all very good.

Famous Solitaire - Fuel/Convenience Store/Restaurant

Our Chalet and Isuzu 4x4

Another Beautiful Sunset
By 10:00 we were back in our chalet. The electricity is back on, so we will have the fan all night. Yeah!

While in Swakopmund, by the sea, it was very cool – in fact COLD!  However, each mile away from the sea, the temperature goes up!!  We were moving inland all day!!

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