31. Mai 2016

Sossusvlei, or ’50 Shades of Red’ / Sossuslei, oder ’50 Shades of Red’









Sossusvlei is a salt and clay pan, located in the southern part of the Namib Desert, which is believed to be the world’s oldest desert. Sossusvlei is surrounded by high red sand dunes, which are often referred to as the highest dunes in the word.

At dawn we drive into the Namib-Naukluft National Park, in order to be in the Sossusvlei at sunrise. At that time the colours of the desert are at their most magnificent. ’50 Shades of Red’, one might think, but just check it out yourself:


South of Namibia - Dry, Drier, Driest / Südnamibia - trocken, trockener, am trockensten

On the road in South Namibia
Auf dem Weg in Südnamibia
It's dry, ...
Es ist trocken, ...
... very dry.
... sehr trocken.
Like I said: really dry!
Sag ich doch: wirklich trocken!
We are happy to see at least ...
Wir freuen uns, unterwegs wenigstens ...
... a few Oryx gazellas on the way.
... ein paar Säbelantilopen zu sehen.


We have often been in Namibia, at different times of the year, but the south of the country we have never seen as dry as now. The drought in Southern Africa caused by El Nino 2015/2016 is devastating. Many farmers have to get rid of large numbers of herds. Wildlife is suffering a lot, too. Hence this time we go through a stone desert bigger than usually, while blowing up vast amounts of fine and nasty dust.

Apart from that, the highlights like Lüderitz and Sossusvlei (please also see our post: "Sossusvlei, or '50 Shades of Red'") are spectacular as always. And camping in the wild, under a marvellous starry night, is just breathtaking. Due to a low population desity, a nearly non-existing air pollution and very low light pollution the Namib Desert offers ideal conditions to explore the southern night sky, shooting stars for the bigger and smaller wishes included.



Klein-Aus Vista  - a nice lodge/campsite, ...
Klein-Aus Vista
  - eine schöne Lodge/Campsite, ...

Bye-Bye Cape Town! / Bye-Bye Kapstadt!

Table Mountain - on our day of departure covered in clouds
Der Tafelberg - an unserem Abreisetag wolkenverhangen
... and some days before
... und einige Tage zuvor
Full moon over Cape Town
Vollmond über Kapstadt
Morning dawn in the 'Mother City'
Morgendämmerung in der 'Mother City'

Good morning sunshine

Our day of departure has been postponed x times, but has finally been determinated for the end of April. However, in the early morning of that particular day I pull a long face. Why? After a long marvellous summer in Cape Town now, of all times, the Table Mountain is covered in clouds. 


Admittedly, that makes our departure easier. Yet, what about our planned picture 'camper ready to go in front of Table Mountain'? With clouds? Really? I am almost willing to spend another one, two days in Cape Town, just to be able to present you a perfect lead picture for this tour. But I simply cannot stop Martin any more. Well, then we take it as it is, the mountain draped by clouds. It suits the topic ‘farewell to Cape Town’ very well anyway.



Same mountain, different perspective
Selber Berg, andere Perspektive
Vespa: the best means of transport for us...
Am liebsten düsen wir auf unserer Vespa...

West Africa Tour 'Cape Town to Casablanca' Finally Started! / Westafrika-Tour 'Kapstadt-Casablanca’ endlich gestartet!





We really made it! Can you believe this?! We finally started our long-planned West Africa tour!

The departure had to be postponed quite often, and there have been several reasons for it. In 2012 for example, the Tuareg rebels together with Al-Qaeda conquered the northern part of Mali. We did not see any chance to enter this country under these circumstances. Since Mali is on our bucket list for West Africa, we changed our plans at that time. We went on a tour to East Africa instead, and this took us 18 months altogether.

Then we travelled from Cape Town through Southern Africa a few times, also on some extensive tours. However:



"When are we finally going to West Africa?"


Martin was always asking me. He was concerned I might not want to leave Cape Town at all. And honestly: his concerns have been justified in some extent, since I really love our life at the foot of Table Mountain. Also, for me the time then had not really come for West Africa for quite a while.

 

My concerns


It shall be wilder, louder, much more exhausting than East and Southern Africa, some travellers say. “Is this really what I want?”, I was asking myself doubtingly. However, for other travellers it is more pristine, authentic and traditional. Meanwhile I made my decision: I am curious to gain my own experience of West Africa.

Having said this, there was still another issue. In West Africa there is by far less wildlife left than in Eastern and Southern Africa. This saddens me as a passionate wildlife advocate a lot. However, there are still wild animals, and committed conservation projects busy to protect them. So hopefully we will be able to at least visit a few of them on our tour.

Aside from that there are larger areas of primeval rainforest, fascinating landscapes, warm-hearted people, magnificent beaches, traditional cultures, unique architecture and much, much more for us to look forward to.


The time has come now!


In other words: The time for both of us has come now to explore West Africa!


Where exactly and how long?


“Which countries are you going to?” and “how long are you planning to be on the road?”, we often get asked. Actually we would like to visit each country along the road from Cape Town to Casablanca. Yet, those of you who know us better know that we not just travel quite slowly, but also sometimes change our route, following the recommendation of locals and other travellers. In any case we live up to our slogan 'Go With the Flow'. We have set a rough time frame of one year, in order to be in Morocco 2017 in May, since this ought to be the best travel month in that region.

BTW: We do not see Casablanca as our final destination, for then we would like to enjoy the summer in Europe, before shipping the camper to South America and discovering the whole of America. But that is still a veeeery long way off.

For the moment, we are ‘just’ happy being able to shout out: "West Africa, we are coming!"



 
Yes. Africa is really that big! The Economist
Ja. Afrika ist tatsächlich so groß!
Ein herzliches Dankeschön an Kai Krause für
diese beeindruckende Karte The True Size of Africa



Westafrika-Tour 'Kapstadt-Casablanca’ endlich gestartet!



Wir haben es tatsächlich geschafft! Könnt ihr das glauben?! Wir haben unsere lange geplante Westafrika-Tour endlich gestartet!