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Above the Sand Sea

March 30, 2018

Climbing Big Daddy, Big Mama or Dune 45 is the ultimate Namib experience for some tourists. Realizing how challenging it was just to navigate modest hills in the soft sand, I was grateful for an alternative way to experience the remarkable Namib Sand Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of nearly 12,000 square miles.

Golden hour on our last full day found Cheri, Mary and me strapped into a helicopter for a doors-off flight. Headed into the strong afternoon wind, the copter seemed barely to move as we advanced — no worries about camera shake! At altitude it became apparent why this is called the Sand Sea, as the dune formations looked like waves on a choppy orange ocean. The long early evening shadows added drama to the landscape, and for the first time in nearly two weeks we actually saw clouds on the horizon beyond the mountains. I’ll let the photos tell the story… one I would never have been able to tell from the top of a dune.


Water trails snaked toward the mountains in the distance, the all but full moon hung in the sky like a giant pearl, and the last of the sun’s rays cloaked the rugged hills in a violet aura. A perfect way to end the day, and the trip.

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