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Day 24

Saturday 27 August 2005
Sossusvlei Lodge, Sesriem - Nest Hotel, Luderitz

After a cold night in the desert, listening to the jackals howling, all set off for a reasonably long day on mostly fast gravel roads.

The highlight of the day came at the beginning - the dunes of Sossusvlei, one of Africa's spectacular natural wonders. The sights were truly fabulous with the sun casting dramatic shadows on the dunes, which stretched high into the brilliant contrasting blue sky. Those feeling particularly energetic scaled Dune 45 (one of the most famous). From the summit, we were able to look out over the vast ocean of dunes - a most memorable experience.

Those wishing to explore more dunes carried on to the Dead Vlei parking area, which is situated at the end of the National Park where the roads become more sandy and more challenging - and where walkers could see beautiful dead trees casting shadows over the parched sand.

The route then took us south through stunning desert landscapes, to the wonderfully perserved Duiwisib Castle, which was built in 1903 by a German baron. Here participants had a second chance to sample delicious, home-baked apple pie following yesterday's treat served up in Solitaire.

'Lonely roads' followed to Aus (visited tomorrow) before entering the German town of Lüderitz, established in the 20th Century during the diamond and fishing boom, to our overnight halt in the new Nest Hotel, perched on the edge of the Atlantic.