Dune Climbing in the Namib Desert, Namibia


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It’s just past dawn and as the sun begins its arc, the Namib Desert sand dunes turn from tinted pink to deep orange. The contrast between the cloudless blue sky and the dune's edge becomes a clear line in starkness. In this early morning, there's a narrow window of time until the angle of the sun and the heat of the desert strip away the crispness and the vibrance in one of the world's oldest deserts.

On the edge of that window, we arrive at Big Daddy Dune. We scramble up its side, following the deepening footsteps of others who've come before us. The sand beneath our feet originates from the Kalahari and dates to more than 50 million years ago. In its timelessness, it's so fine that we sink down, back and in as we trace the dune’s edge. From a distance or up close, we are mere caricatures moving, sinking in motion.

Namibian dunes at Namib-Naukluft National Park
Climbing dunes in the Namib Desert in southern Namibia

We eventually reach the top, re-armed with a sense of giddiness. The vast scale of the dune makes me feel like a child imagining further that I’m frolicking in the world’s largest sandbox.

Take a look at what it feels like to be on top of the dunes in the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Squeal like a child when you do. We did. And trust me, it felt good.


Disclosure: We were in Namibia as speakers for the Adventure Travel World Summit. Our transport and pre-summit tour was provided to us as part of our speaking arrangement. As always, the opinions expressed here are entirely our own.
About Audrey Scott
Audrey Scott is a writer, storyteller, speaker and tourism development consultant. She aims to help turn people's fears into curiosity and connection. She harbors an obsession for artichokes and can bake a devastating pan of brownies. You can keep up with her adventures on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And you can learn more about her on the About Page and on LinkedIn.

16 thoughts on “Dune Climbing in the Namib Desert, Namibia”

  1. After spending so much time in Saudi Arabia, I thought I’d seen enough sand to last a lifetime. I was wrong! Great pictures and and a wonderfully fresh perspective.

    Reply
  2. @Rashad: Ha! This makes one realize that sand and dunes can have a different feel and experience depending where you are. Thanks for the kind words!

    @Nick: We haven’t been to the Great Sand Sea in Egypt, but the dunes in Namibia were pretty big. Think there are ones even bigger than this one (Big Daddy) further into the park and off the trails.

    As for how we created this 360-degree panorama. We use an 8mm fisheye lens with our Nikon D300 camera and take 4 photos at 90-degree angles (vertical orientation) and a 5th photo overhead. Then we use Autopano Giga software to stitch together these 5 images to make a flat panorama. The final step is to drop the flat panorama image into PanotourPro software to create the flash tour you see above. Sounds rather complicated, but the software does most of the work once you get the photo-taking process down.

    @Ivan: Thanks, glad you enjoyed this.

    Reply
  3. Great post, really well written.

    We love to spend days on the dunes! Anywhere there’s a desert, we flock to it. The best so far was The Great Sand Sea in Egypt, but Namibia looks incredible and I think the dunes are even bigger there.

    Love the virtual 3D imagery too. Did you create that on an Iphone or with your camera?

    Really enjoyed this thanks.

    Reply
  4. @Corinne: And we didn’t have a chance to go north to the game parks. Always good to leave something on the table for a next visit!

    @Francis: Thanks, glad you enjoyed the panorama! Hope the AutopanoGiga and PanotourPro combination work out well for you.

    Reply
  5. @Raj: Thanks, glad you enjoyed this view of the Namib desert!

    @Goret: Interesting to hear the comparison to Libya. Glad it brought back good memories.

    Reply
  6. wow thats quite the desert view!

    Love how you presented it… would love to learn how to do that!

    Great blog! Thank you for the cool post!

    Pura Vida~

    Reply

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