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Ancient Sands and New Beginnings

Updated: Jun 25, 2019

By: Sarah Roberts


Sunrise over the Namib Desert in Namibia

Sitting on top of Dune 45 in the Namib Desert immediately after sunrise

We awoke in darkness and drove hours into the ancient sands of the Namib Desert. When the truck came to a halt, we stepped out into the silent, cool air. I immediately felt small, but there was not yet time to ponder the majesty of the moment. We kicked off our shoes and began hiking the enormous Dune 45.


We were racing the sun, trying to reach the summit before the first rays pierced the horizon. With each hurried step toward the sky, the cool sands shifted, and it felt like we sank down a distance greater than what we'd just gained. Before long, our legs and lungs burned from the effort.


In the brief stops to rest, we gazed out across the vastness of the desert. There were massive dunes of soft orange sand as far as the eye could see, set to a backdrop of a gray pre-dawn. Then, the sky slowly started to come alive with purple and pink pastels, and this encouraged us to keep trekking, moving with more haste toward the top. The total ascent took 45 minutes.


When we reached the impermanent crest of the dune, we plopped down facing the unfolding beauty of the desert sunrise. When the bright tangerine orb of the sun started to peek above the most distant dune, almost instantly, warmth swept across the sands. The heat radiated strongly, touching my face and bare legs. I welcomed it's competition to the cool breeze that wildly tossed my hair. My bones felt rejuvenated.


For the next few moments we watched the entire world around us slip off her cozy blanket of the softest hues and replace it with her shining robe of brilliance. Everything turned golden. Everything was more than alive; it was awake. There was soft laughter within our group of travelers, yet there was also a hush so engulfing that we could still hear the winds that rushed the landscape. They met us on the high dune, then blew beyond us into eternity. I looked down at my feet buried in the still cool sands of the oldest desert in the world and was ironically reminded that each day is a new beginning- a new opportunity to keep moving forward.


Welcoming a new day in the Namib Desert


For this experience we love: We booked the Cape Town, Falls, and Kruger Adventure tour through G Adventures. At the time of this blog, prices start at $3,224.00 USD/pp.


Note: This tour company offers tours of varying lengths that include this destination, so you can choose a tour that fits your travel needs.

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