Landing on Mars

Sossusvlei, Namibia

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Back in October, I spent a whole month travelling around Namibia & Botswana partnering with Asco car hire, who kindly gave me access to the awesome Toyota Hilux 2.4GDS for my 2500 mile journey that would take me across the stunning deserts of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, to the torched and dramatic plains of Khwai in Botswana.

Even before I had landed in Namibia I had great expectations for what was about to unfold over the coming 28 days, but nothing prepared me for how quickly I fell in love with Namibia’s diverse lands.

After staying in the capital of Namibia for two days I was ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime through some of the most desolate yet beautiful places you can ever imagine.

Heading south from Windhoek, I made my first long drive down towards Sossusvlei.

Within the first few hours of driving along gravel roads, the inevitable happened. My rear tyre had a puncture and I had to make a quick tyre change. I can tell you, the last thing for a guy with ginger hair on an adventure around Namibia wants is to get stuck out in the middle of the scorching desert heat, trying to change a tyre. However, I was soon back up and running and on my way to Sesriem.

This area is well known for being one of the most sought after places to visit whilst travelling through Namibia. Open roads covered in clay like dust give way to towering sand dunes, so still and so picturesque, everywhere you look is like a fine art world, where minimal tones of rust orange blend with vibrant blue skies above.

There is something quite special about being alone in the wilderness, but being alone in the desert is a whole new feeling for me and one I didn’t want to ever end. As the sun started to set, the glistening sands were being swept up by the early evening winds, creating scenes that felt as If I had landed on Mars!

Flat tyre driving across Namibian roads

The below image is from my time spent photographing Deadvlei. As you reach the top of final dune, you are welcomed with a glorious view of the barren claypan, instantly feeling overwhelmed by the landscape and the surroundings around you.

Man walks across claypan in Deadvlei, Namibia
empty landscape of the Namibian desert

Although the torched and carbon like trees have been dead for roughly 600 to 700 years, they still hold so much presence as you walk underneath their towering branches. This image is one of my favourite images that I took as I watched the evening sun cast its golden light across the surface of the chalk like claypan.

Sunset over a ridge in Sossusvlei Namibia
Dead trees in midday summer heat in Africa
Sand dunes in the desert of Namibia

The desert meets the ocean.

Leaving Sossusvlei behind was hard, I had spent three incredible days nestled within the desert dunes, but I wish I had more time to stay another three. However, now it was time to head north and towards Walvis Bay.

Walvis bay is a port town and lies right on the edge of the Atlantic ocean. The drive from Sossusvlei to Walvis took me around 5 hours and when I finally arrived late in the afternoon, I decided it was best to recharge and put my feet up for the evening.

The following morning I headed out and took the short drive across to dune 7 for sunrise. Early mist soon cleared and the crisp cold morning was a welcoming suprise as I made my ascent up onto the ridge. I could feel the cold sand all around my feet and in that moment, as I reached the top of dune 7, I was speechless.

Sadly, Walvis bay was to be a very quick trip and I only managed to spend the one full day there before making my way north east to a place that really stole my heart, Spitzkoppe.

Morning landscape photography in Namibia
Morning landscape photography in Namibia

Namibia’s Matterhorn.

Steeped in history, Spitzkoppe is home to the many rock paintings which can be found carved into the rocks where the bushmen would have once lived freely in this area. Although many of the paintings have now been vandalized, they are still worth looking for, many of which can be found in the bushman’s paradise area. Thought to be over 120 million years old, the rock formations here are a stunning sight and Spitzkoppe itself is the most surreal place I have ever camped.

Namibia was such an inspiring country and much more than I had hoped for. After having my breakfast one last time alongside the Namibian Matterhorn, I packed everything together and prepared for my long journey across to Botswana to start the second part of this epic african adventure!

I will be uploading the Botswana blog this December as I prepare for a big year next year. The start of 2020 will see me travel to the likes of Iceland, Greece and Scotland during the winter months before I embark on some epic destinations later on!

To read more stories of my travels why not check out my main blog page at https://www.danpalmerphoto.com/blog/

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