Day 5 Sossusvlei

June 18th, 2012

Early up and off to the dunes at 4:45 to catch our balloon ride.  This one I have been looking forward to since we first planned this trip and it didn’t disappoint!  Crystal clear skies and a light wind made for a long and visually stunning ride.  The pilot was great at giving us what we needed taking the wind direction into account.  He brought us low, along a river bed where there were lots of Oryx, springbok, and a pair of snake eagles.  He brought us above the highest dunes so we could shoot deep into the park.  At exactly the right time he spun the balloon around giving us a full 360 degree panoramic view.  One of my favorite textures was the white grass we have been using as foreground in our landscape photos.  From the balloon we could see amazing patterns where the grass grows along water runoff routs.  Those textures led right up to the base of the dunes.  When we landed there was a full champagne breakfast waiting for us at the base of one of the huge dunes!

After a rest and some lunch we headed out into the dunes in earnest.  Sosuflei is the name that means oasis and the park is named this because there are oases in the dunes.  They aren’t always full of water but there are underground rivers the keep these places green.  The main oasis actually had water in it for the first time in almost 100 years so new plants were pushing through cracked mud and frogs were coming out of hibernation and leaping out of the sand and hopping to the water.

Our least stop was a hike to Dead Vlei where moving sand dunes have cut off the water supply and strangled the life out of what used to be an oasis.  The floor of the vlei is hard salt and all that is left are the centuries old skeletons of trees with a backdrop of red sand dunes.  The overall effect is that of a witch’s forest.  The photo opportunities were only limited by our time schedule.  We had a set time to be out of the park so we hiked back to the vehicle and photographed our way out of the park.  We were lucky to see about 50 Oryx on a ridge in beautiful late afternoon light.  Boy, do we have a lot of pictures to edit tonight!

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Stan Burman  |  June 18th, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    I wanna go!!

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