Friday, November 6, 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015: Moon Valley and Soussusfly Airplane Ride

It was 10:00 this morning before we were on the road.  Our plans are to go outside the city to a nearby canyon - Moon Valley Canyon, for a scenic drive.  However, to get to the canyon we drove through sand and more sand!! Miles of sand! 

The landscape of the canyon is unlike anything we have seen here in Namibia.  We were driving along a sandy flat plain, then suddenly came upon the canyon, which is a dried river valley.  The canyon has a series of rock formations that the road winds around.  At the bottom of the canyon, near what use to be the river bed, is a farm with a restaurant and accommodations. The trees were green in the canyon – it is like an oasis!  We stopped for a cup of tea with a sweet (early lunch).  The owner was available to chat, as they were prepared for, and waiting for, the buses with a group of 160 persons from the cruise ship that just docked this morning.  The only farming at occurs these days on this farm is “farming the tourist”!!! Water flowed in this river until they built a dam upstream, and now there is no water flowing, it all has to be pumped in.  At one point in time a road and a railroad track ran along the river, so this farm has been a layover stop for many, many years.   

Driving through the Desert

Moon Valley Landscape

The Farm on the Valley Floor

Friendly Peacock

Old Farmhouse - Now a Museum and Restaurant

Ready for the Cruise Ship Tourists
By 2:00 pm we needed to be ready for a 2-hour flight over the Namib desert.  A bus picked us up, along with 8 other persons. We were taken to the airport where 2 airplanes were waiting.  Each plane was a 6-seater - 5 passengers and the pilot. The flight pattern took us south and inland for one hour, approximately 300 km, going over Kuiseb Canyon, with the southern-most point being Sossusvlei, then we flew out to the ocean.  As we turned north toward Swakopmund we followed the coast, seeing several ship wrecks, abandoned diamond mines, numerous seal colonies, Sandwich Harbour, the dunes, Walvis Bay, Walvis harbor with the docked cruise ship, and finally Swakopmund.  It was a great flight with a wonderful pilot.

The Airplane and Pilot for our flight

Dry River

Patterns in the Desert Sand

Namibian Sand Dunes

Kuiseb Canyon - Where San Dunes and Sand Desert Meet

Patterns in the Sand Dunes - Sossusvlei with the Dry Pans

An Abandoned Diamond Mine

Flying along the Atlantic Coast

A Grounded Ship Wreck along the Skeleton Coast

Colonies of Cape Fur Seals along the coast

Sand Dunes Against the Coast

Salt Lagoons

Notice the Change in Color as the Salt Concentrates

Cruise Ship in Walvis Bay Harbour

Swakopmund Coast with the Jetty
For our evening dinner we went to “The Tug Restaurant” which is located on shore at the beginning of the pier. When we arrived at the restaurant everything was dark except for candles.  What!! The electricity was out!!  Due to no electricity the menu selection was somewhat limited.  The electricity was restored within a half hour.

 The tourist part of Swakopmund is actually a very small part of the town.  It is a very quiet town at night –other than eating out and drinking German beer in the restaurants.  

We have had a great time in Swakopmund, and our hostess at the Guesthouse could not have been more helpful.  The room were great, breakfasts were wonderful, she made reservations and she gave wonderful advice.   We will be on our way in the morning.  We have a full day ahead of us, so we will need to be up early. 

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