Sunday, 24 July 2011

The Sea of Sand

Camp night 2 - next to Kuiseb river
The first morning broke in the dessert with a rosy abundance.  We woke up next to the gently flowing Kuiseb river.  Everyone has already forgotten about work, e-mails and cell phones!  The previous day we have travelled mainly in the red dunes, following the path of the early "transportryers" and German Schutztruppe. 

Kuiseb canyon
To try and describe the trip would be a waste of words.  The best I can do is urging anyone who can to go and do the trip.  I will just publish a LOT of pictures, but believe me, pictures cannot portray what we saw and experienced.
I cannot give enough praise to Uri Adventures for how they organise these trips.  Firstly, the main guide and his support crew make sure everyone is comfortable, and try and boost confidence where necessary.  Our main guide was Kosie, and he was accompanied by another guide Simon.  The support vehicle was manned by Johny and Frans, who were also responsible to set up camp, our luxuries.  The guides and the support crews all prepared food together.  All of them are very knowledgeable about the veldt and animals.

Staged repair shot
During the day as well as in the evenings Kosie will help with running repairs to vehicles, which seem to be quite necessary on our trip.  But taking into account that Kosie has on a previous occasion replaced a clutch during one night, our repairs seemed to be less severe.  On day one we had a very lucky escape.  Adri was following Jagermeister (alias Agent Orange, alias Pinocchio (the long nose of the car), alias cruiser) when he thought he saw something in the road that does not really belong there.  He backed up and picked up what he called a bolt.  It was a massive thing that did not really look like a bolt to me and I would never have thought it comes from a car.  It was quite warm, but he was not sure whether this was because it came fresh from a car, or from lying in the blazing sun.  As he thought there were hints of fresh oil on it, he enquired from Kosie at the next stop, whom immediately recognised it as a bolt that holds the crank-shaft of a Land Cruiser in place.  There were probably only two possible culprits, but Kosie made a bee-line for Jagermeister, which by a strange coincidence was missing that specific bolt. Wow, what a lucky break.  During the course of the trip Kosie had to make repairs to various other vehicles in the convoy, including his own.

Petrified dune
Day two saw us venturing into the dessert proper, a virtual "sea of sand".  Driver's skills improve and confidence is gained.  Most of the dunes are in excess of 150m, and sometimes it feels as if the angle down approaches 90 degrees.  :The first two days you stay mainly in the red dunes, and the dunes are quite manageable.  We pass some petrified dunes that shows the desert in all its glory of different colours of red and yellow.
Petrified dune

Edward Bohlen
Day four and five we are close to the coast and visit some old mining settlements.  At Conception Bay the remains of the Edward Bohlen lies stark in its sand grave several hundred metres from the sea.  It rand aground around 1909 and its distance from the shore makes you wonder how it actually got there.
We also visit old mining settlements that were abandoned presumably when the diamonds ran out or the market turned down. 

"trap suutjies"
Paul taking a picture of Hennie taking a picture of him

Sceleton coast

Anita sandboarding

Charlottenfelder - mining settlement

Stephen testing the waters at Conception Bay

Tour leaders: Simon, Kosie, Frans and Johhny

Camp site night 3

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