Ogling — and Surfing — Namibia’s Haunting Red Dunes

February 12, 2010 at 10:56 am | Posted in Africa, ecotourism, Namibia | 1 Comment
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by José Balido

Namibia Sossuvlei dunesSome 3 1/2 hours by road from Namibia’s tidy capital of Windhoek, out in the Namib desert of the country’s southwest, you’ll find one of the world’s more impressive natural sights and experiences: its highest (up to some 280 feet/85 meters) and oldest sand dunes. Sossusvlei, part of Africa’s biggest game park, Namib-Naukluft National Park, is punctuated by twisted camel thorn trees; you can balloon and fly over these towering reddish “star dunes,” hike them (guide recommended), and even surf down their sides (note to self: look up how to say “cowabunga!” in Nama). The best times of day to come and experience them are sunrise and sunset, when their reddish-orangy hues shift, shimmer, and glow. Don’t forget to also stop for a peek at dramatic Sesriem Canyon, some 40 miles (65 km) away. Admission to Namib-Naukluft is N$80*, and for overnighting, there are various lodges in the area to choose from. A top newish upscale choice is Sossus Dune Lodge, but if its lead rate of N$2,400** is a tad rich for your blood, other options include Desert Camp (from N$455 per person), Desert Homestead (from N$583 pp), and Betesda Lodge (from N$550, or just N$80 to camp). That’s going on your own — naturally there are also a bunch of safari operators which will bring you here on all-inclusive itineraries. More country info: Tripatini’s Namibia group, NamibiaTourism.com.na.

*approximately US$10; £6.50; €7.50; AU$11.75, NZ$15, R80
**approximately US$310; £198; €228;
AU$352, NZ$448, R2,400

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