Drifter’s Camp to Sossusvlei, Thursday 25th November 2004


Near Dune Number 17, Sossusvlei, Namibia


I must make an effort to write my journal at other times apart from just before I go to bed – at that time it feels more like a chore as all I want to do is close my eyes and fall asleep. I am writing around midday at the camp near the sand dunes under an Acacia tree, with a variety of birds scavenging the remains of lunch and filling the air with cheeps almost like a pet shop. A couple of birds are having a singing tug-of-war with a piece of polythene. I slept much better in a tent but took about 20 minutes to dismantle and tidy it away in the morning. I inappropriately offered the signing in guest book to Irene as she was collecting breakfast. Later I almost trapped myself in the loos with a dodgy door catch. On the return journey a reverse process had to be performed and air had to be put back in the truck tires. I visited a shop and chose the still rather than sparkling mineral water and went for a quick walk down the Sesriem Gorge which is normally dry and does not contain water at the bottom. I had a healthy salad lunch and there is something about eating outdoors that makes the food more pleasurable, It is too hot (the sand is shockingly hot) to do anything but sit, which is what everyone is doing, or alternatively take time to write one’s journal. The three coloured oil drums in front of me are marked “Other, Metal, and Glass”. The swimming pool was being drained as we arrived but it may be ready soon. After a shave I feel better. The trousers that can be converted into shorts by zips are quite useful. Even bigger squawking and singing birds have arrived. The atmosphere is very dry. The breeze blows and it feels like a heater. Red dunes can be seen in the distance. Much of the wildlife is too far away to photograph and at Etosha we will see the animals more up close. I made the effort to put up my tent which had been shifted by the wind. A mad yellow bird was pecking at its reflection in the side mirror of the truck. The pool had filled to bath height, which was enough to cool down. We drove to Dune Number 17 – they do not actually move very much or change shape during a typical year. I saw the German “coffin” tour bus which is a lorry converted into a mobile hotel with tiny bunks. After a hot walk along the dry sands and parched trees, Derek and Andrea did a hand spring before trotting with large steps down the slope. Spicy pasta for dinner under a central gas light was welcome. There was talk and sight of jackals entering the camp and so much washing up to do using scrunched up aluminium foil as a make-do cloth. A warm night: a visit to the bar, a beer, a quick charge of the camera battery and looking up at the stars through the meshed tent.

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