February 5th

Ship of the Desert
Tomlinson Clan
Sat 7 Feb 2009 21:54

24:11.8s 14:38.5e


Five minutes after signing off, I heard a noise, I exclaimed to Paul, “What was that?”, to which he replied, “That’s Ken”.  We opened our bottle of champagne to celebrate the fact that we were 3 days travel from any form of civilisation! All of a sudden, our fellow desert trekkers shouted, “A jackal, a jackal.” The very same noise was heard yet again.  This noise was not a ‘Ken’, but a jackal!  That very night we were inundated with jackal.  It was as if we had made camp on a Jackal highway through the desert.  A brown Hyena was spotted, but most of us were in a deep slumber by then.


The next morning we set off along the beach with the dramatic dunes sliding into the sea.  As we sped along the beach, flocks of Arctic Terns took flight into the sky and glistened in the sunlight until it dazzled the eyes.  Three lesser flamingos flew alongside our car and it was as if we had joined them in their journey across the desert.


As the flamencos left us we arrived at a wasteland littered with white mussels and whales.  This was the whale graveyard of Namibia.  It stretched as far as the eye could see.  As our wheels rolled along, we passed by huts inhabited long ago, long boats that had been abandoned by Liberian diamond workers and German villages further inland, left to wither and crumble in the desert heat.


As we started to say our farewells to the sea, we headed inland and found ourselves in an alien looking moonscape.  This was another face of the desert, and one in which the Germans had lived such a desolate life in search of diamonds.  Not a sound could be heard, no life could be seen.  The only noise was the top layer of sand cracking beneath our tyres.  At this point we could envisage the prospectors desperately searching for diamonds, and the sound of the tyres rolling became the churning of the diamond wheel sifting through the sand.


Another unusual sight was this........just before the outbreak of WW2, the Germans left all their mining machinery beautifully lined up in the hope of returning.....there it lies still, in the middle of the desert.


The dunes finally returned and with a final twist and turn in our 4x4s, we lept forth into our well hidden camp on the crest of a wonderful plateau.   The whole camp was surrounded by dry, cracking rock which the sand had eroded little by little, finally reducing it to a withering and crumbling mass.


Rose took to the wheel for her first dune ride.  She sailed though the soft sand and ricocheted off the rocks at every bend.  Nobody could se her behind the wheel.........she did herself proud!


The sun started to set and all the trekkers gathered on the highest most point.  Ken dressed up as a true English gent in his tie and we watched the sun go to bed in it’s blaze of glory as the sky was set alight with it’s goodnight kiss.