Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Flying Over Sossusvlei

I was back at the Bushbird office at two, where I joined two older Australian couples in a minibus for the ride out to the edge of Swakopmund, to the tiny airport.

"Try not to get your cameras too close to the windows," the pilot pointed out. "See, they're just plexiglass and they scratch real easy."

Even with that warning, I bumped a few times.

We all put on headphones to both cancel out some of the loudness of the plane's engine and so we could hear the pilot's instructions.

"Do you think the haze will burn off?" I asked.

"Oh yeah, it's just hazy over Swakopmund." Which is frequently how it is in Swakopmund. Lots of mist and haze.

"Where are you from?" One of the Australians wanted to know who was piloting us.


"Hungary?" I was surprised. "But you spoke German to the man at the X-ray machine."

"I learned a few words. You have to here."

That's true. Swakopmund is full of German-speakers. Some are native, some are retirees, some are immigrants. And not just any Germans--many are Bavarians. This probably hadn't been the right place to lick my wounds in 2005, when I was vanquished by/fleeing a Bavarian.

"Are you here to get flight hours for your license?" I asked.

"No...I'm here to have FUN!"

And we were off.

First we were over the Kuiseb Riverbed. Which is dry. Except it wasn't. The extra rain this year had brought green to the desert.

Then we were over the Kuiseb Canyon.

And we went on, flying over desert and dunes.

And finally, we reached Sossusvlei, the big dune. It didn't look so big from the sky, and there was water on Sossusvlei.

And after seeing the dunes, we turned around and headed back to Swakopmund along the coast, passing ruins of diamond camps, shipwrecks, saltpans, and the port town of Walvis Bay.

The views along this hour-long journey were outstanding. I'm glad I did it. More photos are here.


  1. So jelly!! I was able to explore Namib-Naukuft by land, but couldn't afford to see it from the air at the time. Such an amazing place!

    I followed your original tour back in 2001, which provided some of the inspiration for my own world travels in 2004-5 (one of these days I may actually get around to publishing my journals from that trip). I just recently discovered your latest adventure and am thoroughly enjoying reading about it!

  2. Jen, did you at least post some photos somewhere that we can look at? Thanks for stoping by again. -Marie

  3. I did some digging and my old Flickr account is still active. I started an album, but never finished it. There's a VERY small selection of my photos here: http://flic.kr/ps/7yzLJ

    I originally had my travel journals and my photos up on geocities, but I haven't put a new one online since that site was axed.