Fortunately after falling back to sleep around 3 or 4am I managed to sleep until 8am, and only woke up feeling terrible – and not like death. I felt well enough to try and shower and leave the room, and at least see what breakfast looked like. I was craving salt for obvious reasons, and figured I might get a little food down.
The breakfast buffet all looked totally unappetizing, but used it as an excuse to force myself to eat some cinnamon buns and bacon, and get some calories and nutrients back in. I was feeling so dodgy I even skipped coffee and went with tea, and actually started to feel moderately human afterwards.
Human enough that I decided to go for a little walk outside and see if I could see anything more in the daylight. To say it was a little foggy out would be an understatement:
Woerman House, now a museum and library:
Under the pretence of needing calories and caffeine, I stopped for a nibble at Cafe Anton for their Apfel Struedel as a few friends had recommended. Unfortunately, my piece wasn’t very good and the crust was actually a bit raw in spots. The espresso was, however, pretty good, and there may have been a second one….and still no signs of the upset from the night before other than feeling slightly nauseous. This might be the quickest bout of food poisoning I’ve ever dealt with!
The Leuchtturm – lighthouse – and one of the symbols of the city:
Rather gory war memorial near the lighthouse:
Für Kaiser und Reich!
I found the monument rather fascinating in all its gore!
Memorial to those killed in the Two World Wars:
Walking back along the still foggy beach back to the hotel:
Got back, packed up, took some meds, and hoped I would be well enough for the long five hours of driving ahead. At least I reasoned that if I started to feel too awful again I would at least be in the middle of nowhere where nobody would be witness!
After checking out I got back in the SUV and stopped by a grocery store to stock up on supplies for the next three long days of driving. Lots of water, caffeine, and some Pringles for good measure just in case I needed the salts. Headed out of town, and within an hour I was near the turnoff for Dune 7. It was pretty good roads all the way here so far, and I was beginning to think this might not be too bad. Well, except for the fact there was exactly zero cell reception at the dune. Note the tiny people climbing the dune to get a sense of perspective:
Golden sand against clear blue sky: #nofliter
I still wasn’t feeling 100% so opted to skip climbing the dune and proceeded further east. Had to stop in front of the Walvis Bay airport sign for a selfie to prove I was there:
However, soon after the airport the road turned to gravel, and then even rougher gravel. The car was handling it pretty well for the most part with minimal sliding and despite the challenging terrain, it was even worse off the road:
I probably drove another 90 minutes to two hours, stopping every 20 minutes or so to give the arms a rest from the jarring of the bumpy roads on the steering wheel. Eventually I made it to the Tropic of Capricorn. Hey baby…what’s YOUR sign?
Finally after nearly four hours of driving I made it to the “town” of Solitare, which is located in the middle of nowhere in the desert. I thought I was probably just a little over an hour from my destination at this point, but it was nice to finally sit down at the cafe and rest a bit. This is the only sign of civilization for hours, so a popular waypoint with tourists on their way to the dunes.
Old abandoned petrol machine in Solitaire:
Grave of Percival “Moose” McGregor who had died just a couple of years prior, and was well known in Solitaire for his bakery.
Rusting out truck cab. Spectacular against the blue sky and desert:
Rusting car in the desert:
Welcome to Solitaire sign:
After enjoying a piece of apple pie it was back into the car to finish off what was hopefully the last hour or so stretch to the lodge. Waze was acting a bit crazy (did I mention there was no data signal anywhere in the desert, and only the gas station in Solitaire had weak wifi?) and took me a bit of a longer route off of a “C road” and onto a “D road.” If the C roads were gravel and bad, I shuddered to think what a D road would be like. Fortunately, it was really no worse…maybe even better…and after a bit finally made it to Sossusvlei Lodge.
First disappointment: again no internet, except in the reception area and bar, and even that was rather weak. Fortunately, my hut/tent/whatever you want to call it for the night did have one small weak AC unit, but I was able to move the bed right under it and sleep really well:
Plenty of space in the room:
Huge spacious washroom with walk-in shower:
Sunset on the edge of the desert:
Gorgeous pink hue in the sky:
Wandering a bit further from the lodge, and hoping not to run into scorpions or other wild critters, the sunset got even more vibrant:
Dinner was a buffet affair, and tables were assigned. I sensed a sense of pity from the staff that I was all alone, and they acted like it was the first time they’d seen a visitor not in a group. They walked me over to my sad and lonely table for one, and I set out to explore the buffet. It was a carnivore’s dream, with just about every type of wild game you could imagine for grilling:
I guess I was feeling better and my appetite had returned! Boerewors, oryx, haartebeast, springbok…had to get my protein levels back up!
With that after a long day of driving I was exhausted, and crashed hard for eight hours. I was told it was a good idea to get up for sunrise over the dunes, but I just couldn’t be bothered…