The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land - Page 2





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  1. #21
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    Wow, thanks for posting I'd love to do this sort of thing, I suspect I'd get seriously distracted with those shipwrecks and what looked like something( a building?) buried beneath a dune.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    Here are more Day 4 pics taken at Conception Water.
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  4. #23
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    and a few more
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  6. #24
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    Thanks for sharing Merwe. Looks amazing

  7. #25
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    Absolutely amazing. This must be a bucket list item. I cannot wait for the last part.

  8. #26
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    Great trip and amazing on foot (even with backup). I felt a twinge along the Langwand; not time to have a breakdown.

    If I have one minor criticism of Live the Journey (4x4 trip in 2017), I would choose an operator who focused more on the history and the environment (I would have liked to have seen a brown hyena) rather than "playing" in the dunes. But each to his own.

  9. #27
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    Absolutely stunning - thank you!
    BEAUTIFULLY written report and BEAUTIFUL photos

    Namibian landscapes have always had such an amazing ability of reminding us of just how tiny we are in the overall scheme of things - but WOW!! - walking alone along that cold, harsh and unforgiving coastline takes AWESOME to a WHOLE new level!!!!

  10. #28
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    Quote Originally Posted by mudgrubber View Post
    Great trip and amazing on foot (even with backup). I felt a twinge along the Langwand; not time to have a breakdown.

    If I have one minor criticism of Live the Journey (4x4 trip in 2017), I would choose an operator who focused more on the history and the environment (I would have liked to have seen a brown hyena) rather than "playing" in the dunes. But each to his own.
    Yip that is a valid point, I and the other hikers prepared a full report of the trip to Live the Journey and I will also be meeting with them soon. Info about the history, geology, fauna and flora was one of the points we raised during our daily report back sessions.

    There are people who just want to go up and down the dunes and that is OK with me, but I want something more. Live the Journey also have some trips where they make use of experts such as Dave Pepler, but you also have to pay a bit extra to have such knowledgeable guides.

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  12. #29
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    Namib Hike Day 5:

    We are served a massive breakfast: eggs to order, boerewors, bacon, toast, cheese, fruit, bread, muesli and then we start our last day of hiking.

    We head due west to the sea, we are about 10 km from the beach. First we pop in at the little museum at Conception water, there are not much on display, old bottles and equipment from the mining era. The guest book is full and the previous evening I found a small spot on the inside back cover to write my name.

    We cross over a very large flat plain. Every few hundred metres the conditions underfoot changes, first it is a white salt pan with a crust about 30 mm thick. Then the colour of the salt changes to pink, almost like Himalayan Salt, it forms squares and triangles with small sastrugi like ridges. Then there are mud rivers forming snaking lines across the salt. I tasted the salt and thought about taking a block back home, but this is a National Park.
    Then we walk over sand filled with old, weathered sea shells, the shells looks as if they were planted there by humans (or maybe gods?) as it stands upright and the shells have little sand blown holes.

    For the first time during the 5 days we walk together as a group. We were asked not to walk too fast as the vehicles have to take a big detour to reach our destination, the wreck of the Eduard Bohlen. So we sit down on the side of a small dune after hiking for an hour or two and we just marvel at what we have seen. The environment is both harsh and delicate.

    We continue our walk, we cross a small dune and then we see the Eduard Bohlen on the horizon, it takes us another hour to reach the wreck, but we march across those last few kilometres like soldiers who have just returned from a successful conquest.

    Jurgens and his team are ready with snacks and bubbly, he gives a short little speech and I detected a bit of emotion in his voice, he had spend a lot of time and energy to reach this point where the first hikers have completed the route. We toast our guides and there is lots of clinging of glasses and hugs.

    I then explored the Eduard Bohlen, she weighed 2250 tonnes and she was transporting goods from Swakopmund when she ran aground, on this day, 110 years ago. No lives were lost and the survivors were carried back to Swakop on the Otavi. She lies about 450 metre from the sea and the last 110 years of sea, sun, salt and wind have taken its toll. The bow hangs at an angle and according to Jurgens she has visibly deteriorated during the last 10 years.

    We then take to the vehicles and we are driven back to Live the Journey’s camp site in the dunes, Olifantsbad. It is a three hour joy ride for some and a nightmare for others, we charge up steep dunes and slide down the slip face on the other side. For some of us it is a big thrill, but not everyone expected this rollercoaster ride and a few tears are shed. We are however in the safe and capable hands of Len and I must say I enjoyed the ride. Earlier this year I went on a dune bashing trip in Qatar, but those guys do not understand the first thing about safety and I did not enjoy that experience. This one was much better and our dunes are much prettier!

    We set up camp at Olifantsbad, I have a beer, pitch my tent (some distance from the snorers) and then I take a walk up the dune behind the camp, to take photos but also the think about and interpret the events and experiences of the last few days. For some reason I like the dry and desert areas more and I prefer it to the lush green forests and fields.

    The sun sets and I slide down the dune, showering my camera with desert sand. In the last few months the camera has been to the Tankwa, the Cederberg, Kgalagadi and now the Namib without a proper clean and service, but she is still performing admirably, I will give her some TLC when I am back in Cape Town.

    We sit around the camp fire, Anette and I share our last bottle of red wine and I finish the last of the brandy. I had to go solo on the brandy, she is more of a whisky kind of girl. The hikers chat about the hike and the desert, we make plans for upcoming hikes and trips. Jurgens discusses his future plans with the hike and then we hit our tents for one last night in the desert.

    There is one more episode to follow, a short report of our return to Walvis Bay and then the home stretch.
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  14. #30
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    More Day 5 photos
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  16. #31
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    And a few more
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  18. #32
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    Worthwhile having the guide if you are making the trip!

    Excellent report - many thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Merwe Erasmus View Post
    Yip that is a valid point, I and the other hikers prepared a full report of the trip to Live the Journey and I will also be meeting with them soon. Info about the history, geology, fauna and flora was one of the points we raised during our daily report back sessions.

    There are people who just want to go up and down the dunes and that is OK with me, but I want something more. Live the Journey also have some trips where they make use of experts such as Dave Pepler, but you also have to pay a bit extra to have such knowledgeable guides.

    “Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same." - Ernest Hemingway

  19. #33
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    Namib Hike Day 6:

    I started the preamble to this series with my feelings on the last morning of our hike:

    It is just after 06:00 in the morning, today is Friday. I zip open my tent door and look to the east, there are feint signs of the sun rising, but here, deep in the dunes of the world’s oldest desert, the Namib, it is still dark. I lie back and wrap my sleeping bag over my shoulders. I don’t want this day to start, I want to stay longer, I want this journey to continue, I do not want to go back to civilisation.

    I hear pots clanging, a gas stowe hissing, the guide is boiling water for our morning coffee, it is a thick and deep, deep black syrup. If I am served coffee like that at a coffee shop in the city, I will send it back, but here after five days and 100 km of hiking in the desert, I cannot wait for that first cup of the day. I get up, crawl out of the tent, stretch and walk barefoot across the cool soft sand to the glow of the gas flame. Three minutes, says Andre, the guide, hy moet eers bietjie trek en krag kry.

    I fill my cup, dunk a rusk, and watch the rest of the camp come alive. Andre’s coffee acts as a stimulant, we start to break tents and I struggle to get everything: tent, sleeping bag, blow up cushion and mattress into my duffle bag. I am carrying a few kilos of desert sand with me, not just on a physical level, I also carry the memories of sights and textures and of friendships that will sustain me for a very long time.

    As the sun rises we leave Olifantsbad and then it is the dunes back to Walvis Bay. It is high tide and as we have 'planes to catch we cannot wait for the tide to ebb and we take Route One, straight across some big dunes. Len shows that he is human after all and manages to get the cruiser stuck, but Jurgens is on hand and pulls the Cruiser to firmer sand.

    We travel in the dunes for another 3 hours and then we reach the dunes above Sandwich Harbour. Here we see the tracks of many vehicles in the dunes above the Bay, made by guides bringing day trippers to Sandwich Harbour. Strictly speaking they are not allowed to be in the Concession area, but apparently policing and enforcing of the rules does not happen on a regular basis.

    We reach the salt pan outside Walvis and soon after the town itself. At Lagoon Chalets we greet a couple of hikers who have to hurry to catch a flight to Johannesburg. My flight to Cape Town is due to depart at 16:00 and we trek down for a beer at Sarah se Gat, a watering hole named after the famous Namibian angler and fisherwoman, Sarah de Jager. Anette buys me a large draft and we chat and make sure we have all the contact numbers to keep new friendships alive.

    Then we also leave for the airport and book in. We find the two Joh’burg bound passengers there, their flight has been delayed. Our flight is on time. Anette and I sit next to each other, having given up our front row seats with lots of leg room to another couple, it is alleged one of them suffers from a medical condition, but they both look very spritely to me. I sip a beer or two and before I know we are descending for Cape Town. I say goodbye to Anette and Erns, it was my third hike with Anette and second one with Erns. Also on the flight was at least four more fellow hikers, Pierre and Arina and the two “youngsters” from the Nuy Valley, Amelia and Emma.

    I Uber directly to a restaurant near Tygervalley, and arrive there, luggage and all, to see my second grandson for the first time. He was born two months ago, also in a desert but on the other side of the world. My son and his wife and their two boys are here in the country for a brief visit.

    My wife and I spent the rest of the weekend with friends in the little coastal town of Yzerfontein. On a number of occasions I attempted to convey the magnitude of my experience in the Namib to my friends, but I find that simple words cannot adequately describe the beauty and the magnificence of what we had experienced. My sentences trail off and my mind wanders back to the sand, the sea and the dunes.

    So, if you feel that you need the solitude of the desert, but want to have the luxury of guides and vehicular backup and great food, round up a few of your mates, contact Live the Journey and make those dreams come true.
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    Last edited by Merwe Erasmus; 2019/09/18 at 09:11 AM.

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  21. #34
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    Sjo. What a pity your trip / hike is finished. It felt as if I was there with you. Thanks a lot for your write up and detail.

    Is one's bucket list not supposed to get shorter with time as you do all these wonderful things?? It seems as if my list have items added at a faster pace than what is ticked off. Shall we toast to that. Cheers.

  22. #35
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    This is just a magical photo. Please put it in the interesting pics thread

    We can't change the wind but we can set our sails

  23. #36
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    Ek sien Erns Grundlingh het 'n verslag oor sy indrukke van die stap in vandag se Rapport bylae, Beleef gepubliseer.

  24. #37
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    Cool Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    What is Rapport?

  25. #38
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    Sondag koerant
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA View Post
    What is Rapport?

  26. #39
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    Default Re: The Namib 100 - Hiking into the Forbidden Land

    Thanks Merwe, great report, great hike. Watch out Erns, there's a new writer in town!
    I have explored Sandwich Harbour on foot many times, and it is a magical place (and had the privilege of camping there several times, with the appropriate authority). I've always wondered what the land looks like to the south, now I have a glimpse, and it is tantalising.
    Tony
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    Previously Land Rover 1968 SII, 1969 SIIA, 1973 SIII, 1983 Toyota HiLux 2litre, 2006 Land Rover Freelander TD4 HSE.

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