After the slightly chaotic feeling to the start of the trip and the overnight stay in Omaruru, day two began with an early rise with the aim of making it to the starting spot at camp at a reasonable time in the morning.
It was a fairly uneventful drive. A group of monkeys blocked the road at one point but scattered as the bus approached. And near to camp, the driver got us stuck in some sand. He and a couple of others took to using handfuls of what I assume was elephant shit, pushed under the bus wheels to improve traction.
When we met up with the rest of the trekkers and the support crew, the chaotic nature disappeared immediately and there was an air of professionalism about this. The scene was set – expectations for each of us, the expected dangers ahead, what to look out for, hand signals to use if we come close to wildlife, health and safety tips. It was comprehensive. An interesting point for me covered “the three ‘S’s”, those being snakes, spiders and scorpions. Naturally they should be avoided, although none of the spiders or scorpions in the Namib were capable of killing an adult (no similar comment was made on snakes), but, also, anyone seen killing or harming these creatures, or any others for that matter, would be taken off the trek.
That was a theme each day. We’re trekking through the Namib but we won’t be leaving any trail of our own other than footsteps. This included the procedures, if they could be called that, for going to the toilet in the desert, for brushing teeth, for eating snacks.
And with that, we were off. There was plenty of getting to know each other as the trip commenced properly, still very much in the shadow of the Brandberg Mountain. Right at the start we passed a group of ostrich, and a lone giraffe eyeing us casually as we passed by. It built up the hope for wildlife spotting over the next few days.
Day 1 was a reasonably tough start. Much of the route was sandy and tough to walk on. The sun was beating down, probably around the mid-30s, but enthusiasm and chat within the group kept everyone powering through the distance comfortably.
The scenery, for all it is entirely desolate, is stunning. It changed every couple of miles, as did the terrain underfoot. And at times we crossed over trails for zebra and springbok.
The first day as an intro to the trek was straightforward. It was more a ‘get to know you’, while we put in a few miles of trekking. Eventually the campsite came into view and we settled down for the evening by the campfire. And when the sun sets in the desert, it gets cold quickly.
All in all, the early start, the drive and the first few miles of trekking was more enjoyable than it was challenging. But it was a great start, and the best was yet to come.