June 1st, 2018 ♥♥♥
Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert

Top of Big Daddy, the tallest dune in Sossusvlei area. Bottom right  is Deadvlei- the famous dead camel thorn trees seen starkly against the white sand.

Living in Cape Town allows us to travel to so many interesting countries in Africa. One of our many neighboring countries is Namibia, which is a quick 2 hour flight away. We heard that this wasn’t a country all about safaris (even though they have Etosha National Park which is supposed to be amazing). It’s more about the landscape, scenery and desert serenity. Now I love a good view,  and I’ve never been to a desert really (does Palm Springs count!?) but I’m not quite as nature-y as Dave. So I was curious on whether I’d find it just pleasant or totally boring.

I can assure you all, I felt neither. I was absolutely blown AWAY. Our focus for this trip was to see the famous sand dunes of Sossusvlei and the landscapes of Deadvlei. Here is the 4 day journey of our roadtrip through Namibia.

DAY 1: South Africa to Namibia

Stay: Hotel Thule

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert Solitaire

Taken in Solitaire, a small town stop on the way to Sossusvlei. Vintage broken down cars can be found everywhere!

We left Friday evening after work for Dave. We’ve been taking advantage of the many bank holidays South Africans get for our previous trips, but for this trip, Dave took one day off to allow for a 3 night, 4 day weekend. We jetted off to Windhoek via Air Namibia (side-note: flights in Africa give you so much food. As someone who seems to be always starving, this is a very exciting thing to me).  We were served a great dinner, and then quickly arrived at around 10pm. Our hotel forgot to pick us up (this is Africa!) but luckily it was very easy and felt very safe to grab a driver. We made the 45 minute journey in the dark to our hotel so couldn’t really see much. We arrived to Hotel Thule, a hotel high in the hills of a suburb in Windhoek, and immediately crashed out.

DAY 2: Windhoek to Sossusvlei 

Stay: Sossusvlei Lodge

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert Windhoek

View from breakfast at Hotel Thule

We woke up to a beautiful view of Windhoek. It was lovely and the desert heat was coming in full effect. Over coffees and eggs, Dave and I were saying if we had to compare (it’s so hard not to compare everything to home when you live abroad), we would say it looks just like Los Angeles. We were basically in the Hollywood Hills. If you venture down into the city,  it’s like wandering around Studio City on Ventura Blvd.

After a few more necessary coffees we headed down into the city, grabbed our rental car (I make it sound easy and quick but not much in Africa is easy or quick, but what they lack in expedience they make up with warmth and kindness), and set off on our route to Sossusvlei.

We chose to self drive Namibia as opposed to getting a guide like we had in Botswana, & Uganda because we were told that driving in Namibia is actually quite easy and safe. Lots of South Africans drive themselves all the way up to Namibia. At this point, we felt pretty acclimated to Africa and I wanted us to have some freedom to stop whenever we wanted and to listen to the music we wanted. I love getting to know the African guides we meet when we travel, but sometimes it’s nice to just feel like a local driving through a country!

At first, I’ll admit, the drive sounded daunting to me. Online people were saying it’s 7-8 hours long, beware of terrible gravel roads, it’s going to be rough, take lots of breaks etc. etc. But, our roadtrip was a little over half that time, super easy and absolutely gorgeous! Looking back on the trip, the drive was one of our favorite parts!

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert Solitaire

After 3.5 hours of driving on our roadtrip through Namibia, admiring the beautiful landscapes of rocks, sand, and mountains along the way, we finally arrived at a small abandoned looking town called Solitaire.

It’s known for its’ vintage broken down cars, old gas station and charming café that serves one hell of an apple pie.

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert Solitaire Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert Solitaire Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert Soitaire

On a pie high we took off for our last hour drive into Sossusvlei, where we would be spending the next 2 nights exploring the famous sand dunes. We arrived around 4:30 pm at the beautiful Sossusvlei Lodge (left at 10am, stopped for 1.5 hours in Solitaire, total: 6.5 hours). We quickly settled into our room, made our way to the bar, and grabbed some gin and tonics (like all great South Africans do), and then laid back and unwound from the days journey.

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert Sossusvlei Lodge

Magic hour at the lodge bar

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Lodge

View from our stand alone room

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Lodge

Sitting out on our private deck and soaking it all in. It was a true escapist moment. We felt like we were far away from anything and everything (we were) and there was no wifi to distract us.

Day 3: Sossusvlei & Deadvlei: Arrival on Mars

Stay: Sossusvlei Lodge

Around 7am we jumped into an open air Jeep with 2 other couples and 2 guides and set off into the famous Sossusvlei park. We’re very fortunate that our lodge was directly at the entrance of the park so there was no unnecessary extra driving involved (important note if you’ve already driven 6 hours to get to your lodge. You can fly into this area as well, it’s just expensive to do so, but apparently is a really beautiful scenic flight). Immediately we were taken in by the vast desert landscapes, and fantastical bright orange sand dunes.

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert Deadvlei

Deadvlei: the name’s literal meaning is “dead marsh.”

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert Deadvlei

Nearing the top of “Big Daddy” dune.

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert Deadvlei

After we hiked up Big Daddy, we ran down the sand dune super fast! It was so fun! Felt like we were kids again. As soon as you get to the bottom, this is what you see: Mars. Or aka: Deadvlei.

Roadtrip through Namibia Deadvlei

Life on Mars

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert Deadvlei
Roadtrip through Namibia Deadvlei

These are the famous dead camel thorn trees that I am sure all of you have seen so famously photographed.

Roadtrip through Namibia Deadvlei
Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert

We spent a good 2 hours there and then drove with our guide to our next stop: breakfast in the desert.

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert

Quick stop at Dune 45 on the way back. We did not even attempt to climb it. It was just too hot!

We got back to the lodge around 1:30, had lunch, lounged by the pool and just enjoyed the desert peace. At about 5ish we were off to our Sundowners and Sunset adventure (quick note: we booked all our activities through the lodge- super easy and really flexible).

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert

The guides drove us up a different mountain and then somehow mysteriously laid out a whole feast with wine & champagne as we watched the sunset. They’re so incredible how they set these events up.

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert
Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert

Isn’t Dave’s hair the cutest in the dry heat?! :) He’ll kill me for writing this but I feel it’s a must say.

Day 4: Sossusvlei to Cape Town: One last sunrise walk 

Stay: Sossusvlei Lodge

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert

We booked an early guided “Elm Dune Walk.” It was beautiful and so peaceful. But in hindsight, you do not need a guide for this. We saw a few other couples all doing it guide-less. Really simple to drive to, only 20 minutes from the lodge with signs and very safe.

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert

View from our hike up. It’s amazing to look around and see no infrastructure and no people. Really makes you feel like you’ve gone to another planet.

Roadtrip through Namibia Sossusvlei Desert

But having some guides did pay off because they were able to hunt down a dancing white lady spider!! It was insane! He dug her out of her home in the sand. Not nice I know, but don’t worry, no spiders were harmed!

It was nice to get our bodies moving before we hopped back in the car for our 6 hour journey back to Windhoek. This time we only stopped in Solitaire for 20 minutes or so (I had a few cookies instead of pie and they were also delicious!) and then headed straight to the airport to drop off our rental car directly there. The drive was easy breezy and absolutely stunning again.

The country makes you feel so at peace and so relaxed. We already can’t wait to go back.

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4 DAY ROADTRIP THROUGH NAMIBIA

 

 

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