All we had to do
was sit back and enjoy the trip. A word of warning, the
average speed across Namibia is about 30 to 40 mph because
most roads are surfaced in gravel. Short trips in Britain
become a full day's journey in Namibia. Then there are the
high mountains, lots of them, some of which have to be crossed
by road. Finally, the heat. You might remember a hot day in
Britain, but the desert heat is fierce and dry. One's skin
does a good impersonation of parchment, and lips crack with
dryness. One soon discovers the importance of water. Our
advice is to avoid alcohol, tea, and coffee for the first day,
and to drink bottles of pure water until the body reaches a
re-hydration balance. We travelled over the New Year period,
which is the hottest season. March through to October is
cooler but still hot compared with Britain.
was thoughtful enough to give us an overnight break at the
pretty Camp Nauchas, bungalow accommodation on the oldest farm
in the south-western Namibia. Dinner was sumptuous and much
appreciated, as was the refreshing shower. The next morning,
after a hearty breakfast, we set off towards Tsauchab River
Camp our naturist destination. On the map it seemed just a
stones throw away, but it took a full days driving, passing
over the Spreetshoogte heights before descending down
thousands of feet into the desert plain surrounded by the
Naukluft and Tsaris mountains. There is plenty of life here in
the form of zebra, antelope, raptors, rodents, reptiles,
insects, and spiders. The reason that none of these is obvious
lies in the vast size of the landscape.
three times the size of Britain with a population of less than
2 million. The road was long, rough, and dusty, but our host
ensured that we had plenty of watering stops, including a
lunch stop at a place called Solitaire where we were served
the tastiest and biggest home-made apple pie I have ever seen.
the camp was a complete surprise as it lay in a secluded gorge
about three miles from the road and accessible only by 4x4's.
The camp was called Fountains because of the Afrikaans word
for the natural springs which turned the gorge into a green
oasis complete with meandering stream which the farmer had
dammed up to form a natural swimming pool. Our host instructed
us to unwind, undress, and relax. We did just that, and didn't
need to think of clothes for the next three days.
was always cool, even in the midday heat - due to the cool
water and due to the overhanging shade of the ancient Marula
tree. Two items of clothing were essential: walking boots and
a hat. The ground is either hot loose sand, or hard and stony,
and the sun is always overhead. The boots enabled us to enjoy
walking, while the hat prevented sunstroke, although to be
truthful we sometimes cheated and wore a wet sarong draped
across shoulders. This also worked in the vehicle, when we
draped the damp material across our knees, and remained
Temperatures averaged 40°C, although one day it reached
60°C. with the sand a blistering 80°C. Well, what do you
expect from mad dogs and Englishmen? Yes, a crazy Englishman
trying to climb a sand dune in sandals, at
sheer heaven with the Milky Way that lit up the night sky in a
blaze of a billion stars. We also had a full moon on the first
night enabling us to walk about in the desert after dark as if
it was daylight. We also noticed an almost complete absence of
mosquitoes so that one could wander around naked without being
bitten. We slept naked too. The only disturbance at night came
from birds regularly and noisily arguing.
One of the
highlights of this camp was the naturist hike up the course of
a deep ravine. Surrounded by steep rocky sides we were in an
ancient world where only the bushmen once roamed. In fact, one
of their honey gathering sites could be seen high up the side
of the ravine, with the original primitive ladder still wedged
against the rocks so that they could reach the hive. Hiking
naked in the tremendous heat was a revelation because although
hot we never felt overheated for being naked meant that the
skin could perspire freely and evaporate dry within seconds.
Once you have experienced naked hiking in the desert, you will
never again be satisfied with the textile version. After the
hike, we were treated to a shower in the desert under a tree.
The farmer had thoughtfully attached hot and cold running
water with all mod cons to a tree complete with smooth stone
trough to catch the run-off water. There is no shortage of
water - it is underground and is easily pumped up with
windmills into tanks. We were amazed at his ingenuity and
enjoyed the shower all the more for it.
three days of naked bliss we allowed ourselves to be dragged
back into civilisation and stayed first at the luxurious
Desert Homestead at Maltahöhe (famed for its healthy food and
horse trails) and at Sossusvlei Lodge, a Moorish hotel with
half-tented accommodation situated on the edge of the Namib
desert, and home to massive red sand dunes. It was from here
that we had the birthday hot-air balloon flight at 6 a.m. when
the air was still a cool 31° C. We drifted on gentle air
currents for an hour over the desert and the Sesriem gorge
before landing for the champagne breakfast. There is only one
word for this trip - unforgettable!
loads of photographs and they all survived the x-ray machines
at airports. Some of the films were x-rayed four or five
times. According to an airport official film is safe provided
it is less than 700 ASA.
How did we
avoid getting sun burnt? Common sense and some natural skin
care. Firstly, we used Neways sun block cream because it is
free of formaldehyde-chain chemicals. They can cause cancer.
We also used their after sun care cream at night. During the
day, any exposure was treated with a coating of FLP Aloe Vera
Gel. During our walks we sprayed regularly with a dilute
solution of Urtica Urens (Stinging Nettle) tincture, this can
be obtained from any homeopathic or herbal pharmacy. Most
importantly, we drank the local water, it's the sweetest most
refreshing water in the world, and we needed lots of it!