Our time in Kruger and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier parks were oddly private. The campgrounds aren't very interactive places, though of course we did meet some simpático souls.
But the actual event of each day in those parks, the driving around and looking at the wildlife, gives you a one-off experience. No one sees quite the same park as anyone else on any given day. Your own particular experience is driven by your own luck and patience. In the case of the Galactics, our days tended to be heavy on the bird side of things, and our bouts of watching any particular group of animals, no matter how close or how spectacular, tended to be limited by Eric's six-year-old patience.
But then, after a few days of travel and sidestories here and there along the road, we arrived at our next marquee spot - Sossusvlei in the Namib-Naukluft National Park and Namib Desert.
Here, the experience is much more standardized. It's all about seeing the dunes, especially at sunrise or sunset. The place is a bucketlist kind of place that features on most foreigners' visits to Namibia.
We almost didn't go. We were trying not to do too many things in Namibia, and skipping Sossuvlei would save us a bushel of driving. (See six-year-old patience, above.)
But one of those simpático souls and an old Namibia hand besides told us that we would be absolutely mad to skip Sossusvlei.
So we went. And we were very glad we did.
This next set of pics is from the morning when we drove out to the dunes at sunrise. We parked the rig halfway along the four wheel drive track and walked up the nearest dune to that point, thereby missing the bucketlist crowd on the dune ridge at the end of the track.
A dune of our own. What bliss for the Galactics.
Of course, as these pictures were being taken, Alisa was warming up to the most spectacular bout of travel sickness visited on any of us during the whole month. She won't soon forget Sossusvlei.
Yes, we did bog the rig in the deep sand. My fault for losing speed while trying to shift up to second in four wheel low. That might have been the boys' very very viscerally favorite moment of the whole trip. "Dad bogged! Get out and help! It's like playing in the sand, except we have to do it!" A number of other rental rigs were bogged and left in place, their renters nowhere to be seen. We got great amusement out of that.
And I don't have the bird book handy to jog my memory on the identity of that passerine. But it is attempting to drink from the water tap on the truck. Life in the desert. The boys let a puddle run out on the sand and soon had a whole flock at their feet, drinking deep.