O dune almighty

The desert landscape as the sun came up

The desert landscape as the sun came up

A day in the Sossusvlei starts early. No time for a shower or breakfast. It was still dark and the sky was covered with stars. We were on our way to the famous Dune 45, apparently the most photographed dune in the world. The best time to see the dune is at sunset our sunrise, when the sun casts shadows over the dune landscape, and the best seats for the show are at the very top.

Dune 45, with tiny people on top

Dune 45 is in the middle of the desert, so there are no elevators, chairlifts or conveyor belts to help you. Climbing Dune 45 is done on pure strength and willpower. Imagine walking on the beach, only uphill. Every step you take will only count as half a step, as the sand will drag you right back down. At 170m tall, it’s a lot of steps.

Exhausted, but the sunrise is stunning!

When I arrived at the top I crashed onto the sand. There was nothing elegant about it. The sun was about to rise and the view was stunning. As the sun rose into the sky, there was a shadow play on the surrounding dunes. The edges of the dunes became so clear. I enjoyed the peace, the spectacle and taking photos.

The way down was much better. In the bright red sand you can walk down in big steps, like an astronaut on the moon. Sand was flying everywhere, and indeed I found sand everywhere later on in the shower, but it was a great feeling. It is incredible how quickly you hit the bottom, but no way am I climbing that thing again. If I can give you one tip for this activity it is to take plenty of time for your way up and bring a good, hearty breakfast for when you are down again. It’ll be the best breakfast of your trip.

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