The Green Desert

The Green Desert #1
The Green Desert #2

After what appeared to be an equatorial dose of rain between December and February, the Namibian landscape has been transformed.

It was through such finery we drove for several hours en route to Sossusvlei and the Namib Naukluft Park to check out some lodges.

The Gaob River was impassable. Wading through the torrent to reach the bridge, which was covered with man-sized logs and a wall of water, we realised the level was dropping apace and decided to wait it out.

Sure enough our trusty custom-built Land Cruiser safari vehicle powered over the bridge with its occupants experiencing the gamut of life's emotions in about one minute. Well driven Edward, though we're not sure Danie should see these pictures.

With the rain and grass cover (brilliant green dotted with yellow, white and mauve flowers), the sky was unusually clear. The Tsaris and Naukluft Mountains formed sharp outlines and their craggy underclothes were revealed in multi-colour glory.

We were wisely advised to detour the Tsauchab River at Solitaire, heading for Bullspoort rather than directly to the Sossusvlei, a diversion of about 20km. Wise because on returning we saw the devastation: whole trees dumped with disdain across the road bridge and whole chunks of earth carted downstream.

A brief aside saw us help fellow travellers in a 2WD ford a deep river, followed deftly by the NTS vehicle, which barely noticed the obstacle and offered yet more incriminating photographs.

With the clear light and cloud-filled skies, it was the sunsets that stole the show – we'd been looking at the desert transformed into an Alpine scene all day so that was old news. Gratuitous sunset picture followed gratuitous sunset picture and I offer no apology for they were all spectacular and you should have been there.

By Ian Rowett

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