July 2, 2013

Our opinion of River Crossing Lodge was reinforced this morning. It really is a very nice place and the staff try very hard but they just slip up with little things that could make them much better.  At breakfast this morning Helen asked for some apricot jam for her bread and they came back and said sorry they are out. We then asked for any jam and they said sorry they are out of all jam. Seriously?! How can a hotel/lodge not have any jams?!

We left at about 9am and were heading South and then West as we headed to Sossusvlei and in particular to the &Beyond Lodge at Sossusvlei which is in the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Our first stop on route was at Rehoboth to refuel the Beast. First petrol station – no diesel – awaiting delivery. Second petrol station – no fuel at all – closed totally. Mild panic setting in especially as our range was only 70 km and that was not enough to get us back to Windhoek even. Third petrol station, one pump open of diesel. Filled the Beast to the brim and also filled the Jerry Can as well.

road to sossusvleiFrom Rehoboth we began heading West and onto the gravel roads from then until we got to Sossusvlei.  About 250 kms of driving on gravel. And at some stages the road was not very good.  It started off quite rocky and you couldn’t go more than 80 km/h. It then improved and I was able to drive at about 100 km/h. But then we hit the rollercoaster section. You very suddenly hit the down section and the up section starts so quickly you have a little ‘air’ time in the vehicle especially when you hit them at 100 km/h. The innocuous ones caused the most ‘air’ time. We grew up calling them ‘thank you mums’ but have no idea where that phrase came from. Helen said it gave you a little adrenalin rush each time. Chloe asked if I was trying to break her back! After that section came the sandy section where the car drifted across the road like a ship in the night. My hands, arms and shoulders felt like they took a pounding and my wrists are hurting like crazy still. Helen did offer to drive but I was concerned that if I let her at the wheel we would hit those bumps even harder. About 70km out we stopped on the side of the road so I could stretch and 3 of us could defuel at the roadside (no toilet in sight).

We arrived at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge ( at about 1:30pm (just in time to still have lunch at the lodge). We regularly visitors to &Beyond lodges and this is our second time at Sossusvlei. It definitely has the best accommodation of any of the lodges. The only negative is that they only have showers (I say showers because there is an inside and an outside one) rather than a bath and shower. They have limited water here (not surprising given it is a desert) and so I guess a bath would be a luxury.  The rooms are really superb though with an incredible view over the plain towards the dunes of the desert. Even the toilet is positioned so that you look over the plain! You can watch the Gemsbok and Springbok wander past while you are busy … or they are watching you!

sossusvleiAt 3:30pm we headed out on a drive. There is not a lot of game here that we had not already seen but we did add Aardwolf and Bat Eared Fox to our list of mammals for the trip. We also saw Gemsbok, Springbok and Zebra. The most amazing thing is the bird life is quite prolific which you wouldn’t expect for a desert.  We are now up to 111 birds for the trip with 6 lifers. The sun sets very quickly here and we had drinks at about 5pm in the desert and watched the sunset. The temperature drops very quickly here as well and the trip back with the wind into our faces was pretty chilling.

As you can see, we have a Wifi connection in the lodge (they didn’t have that last time we were here) and so I can at least post the blog and keep up with emails. It is pretty intermittent though and slow (it took about 30 minutes to add one photo). So limited photos today and if you want to see more about the lodge then have a look at the link above.

H (because she told me that if she wasn’t first tonight she would seek revenge and because she never commented once on my driving on the gravel today), P, M (because I am still remembering his reversing skills), S & C (she is last by choice and not because of her age – it is because she accused me of trying to break her back!).

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