We were warned in the morning about rainy weather throughout Namibia and got an early start to cover the 300+ km of gravel road to our intended destination, Camp Agama. It turned out to be a false alarm as we were treated to the most captivating desert and mountain scenery of the entire Namibian trip thus far in brilliant sunshine. To break the monotony of the gravel road, we had a couple of mountain passes to cross. The first one, Kuiseb Canyon dramatically changed the flat desert landscape into a series of twists and turns through weathered rocks. For a change, we had some company in the form of a large Tata safari vehicle with a group of young Europeans. They kept passing us and we kept passing them as we stopped at different places. We stopped at the top of Kuiseb Pass to get a 360 degree view of the surrounding hills and desert. Thankfully, the road was paved for the entire length of the pass before reverting to gravel after crossing over.
Video: Kuiseb Canyon - enroute to Solitaire
The second pass, Gaub Pass, took us by surprise. Instead of the usual winding road leading up to a summit, the road actually descended down a series of turns before bottoming out and then climbing back out of the depths back to flat land. We were taken aback by the use of the term "pass" for a canyon traversal. The sight of the Tata truck parked at the bottom of the canyon for lunch created pangs in our stomachs but we bravely soldiered on satisfying ourselves with snacks and the magnificent vistas that we witnessed after we emerged from the depths of Gaub pass. Hopefully, the photos we've attached with this entry will impress you as well.
We came across a sign on the way that delighted us no end. It said simply "Tropic of Capricorn". Someday we will hopefully see "The Equator" or "The Arctic Circle".
We got a break from the endless desert (and too much scenery) in the form of the "town" of Solitaire - really only a hotel, restaurant and petrol station. The short stretch of street that linked the main road to these was decorated with skeletons of antique vehicles strewn about to deliberately give the appearance of a wild town in the middle of nowhere. We filled up the petrol tank but had to make do with coffee and a piece of apple pie that we had been told about earlier. It would have been too much to expect a hot vegetarian meal at this place even if we felt we had earned one after the long desert drive. The owner of the bakery proudly claimed that the famous Solitaire apple pie has been served since 1992.
Video : Near Camp Agama
It was just a short 30km drive to Camp Agama from Solitaire allowing us to wind down at our campsite. We had the entire site to ourselves and cooled off at the swimming pool before enjoying the nice evening light with a view of the desert and surrounding mountains in the red glow of the setting sun. We were just 30km from the gates of the Namib-Naukluft Park which opens at sunrise and closes at sunset. We wanted to get as much of the spectacular red dune sunrise and so planned a pre-dawn departure the next morning.
Google Maps Link
Imagine finding a town called Solitaire. Some of the most desolate of places in your travels seem to be in Namibia. As you had your apple pie, did you ruminate on where on earth you have reached .........
Get moving; you have a lot more posts to catch up on.
Can I write the last of the posts as a guest entry after you are done .... ? From , on Mar 25, 2013 at 10:23AM
@Ramesh : Yes, 13 more to be exact! Sure, we'd love to have you write an epilogue for us. From, on Mar 25, 2013 at 12:42PM