We woke up at 5am at Sesriem campsite, the closest sleeping place to Namibia’s Sossusvlei dunes. The National Park gates opened at 05h45 and with a small fleet of 4X4s, lights on, engines humming, ready for the opening in darkness, we had a hysterical 50km race to the dunes. In one of the rare diff-lock engaged drives of our trip, of course Mpandangare the Great picked out enemy vehicles one by one and we arrived at the dune-base well ahead of anyone, including a posse of client-bearing Toyota Land-Cruisers who seemed to slow as the sand got deeper. Oh the shame.
A technical breakfast failure on our part led to three twenty-something hairy Dutch fellows heading up ahead of us just as the clock struck 07h00. They had a 500m start on us, but as soon as we hit the 45 degree verticals the gap narrowed, with Bea & Mila rampaging on ahead.
By 07h30 two of the three Dutch guys had fallen and got eaten by dune snakes, and we passed the third fellow by 07h45. He was lost, bewildered and confused. We gave him water and a map, but nonetheless we believe he got eaten by a Jagher-Svikkel (for our US friends a Jagher-Svikkel is a Namibian dune-tiger that is indigenous to the region. It is an extraordinary creature insofar as it has a kind of firefly light on its forehead allowing it to hunt at night).
Music: I like Giants Kimya Dawson
After 2hrs of solid hard walking (and a bit of crawling), we summited alone at 09h00 to see the splendor of the worlds largest sand dunes before us.