Adventures in the Namib Desert

What an amazing day! Today we trekked to the Namib desert for a firsthand experience of the famous Namibian sand dunes. Along the way, we saw different types of desert terrain, some with lots of rock formations and others with a surprising amount of vegetation. According to the CIA’s World Factbook, only 1% of Namibia is considered arable land. However, the landscape does not consist solely of sand, as is often pictured online. Our morning drive took us to Dune 45, where we spent 45 minutes (perfect timing!) hiking to the peak of the dune and then running or sliding or tumbling back down. Dune 45 is a star dune that was formed millions of years ago from sand blown to the coast of Namibia from the Kalahari Desert. It is called a star dune due to its star shape that can only be seen from the air.

Afterward, we hiked to a clay pan with 900-year-old trees that are no longer living. The dead trees in the middle of the reddish sands of the desert created an eerie landscape that was simultaneously beautiful and haunting. Our hike to the clay pan was what I consider the lowest point of our study tour. It was close to 1 pm, the temperature was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and many of us had not eaten since 6 in the morning. Our normally cheerful group was in low spirits, but we kept pushing on to see as much of the breathtaking scenery as we could. Once we were back at the lodge, we had a delicious oryx steak and chicken schnitzel lunch that revived the group’s morale, and by late afternoon, we were all ready to go on one more desert drive to see the sun set over the Namib Desert one last time. It was a memorable ending to an incredible trip with 27 new friends.

Beautiful Namibian sunset.

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