There are different kinds of dunes, and the ones around Sossusvlei are known as ‘star dunes’ because the wind whips and shapes them from all directions, into a spiral or star. Some of these dunes soar 300 metres high into the complementary-coloured sky.
We walked the spine to the very top of one particularly colossal dune that curved around the dry marsh named Sossusvlei. Some call it ‘Big Mamma’ (in reference to the ‘Big Daddy’ dune that stands sentry over Deadvlei, always much busier in comparison) and once up, we stood together soaking up the scenery and triumph of an arduously sandy summit. There’s a reason they call it the Namib Sand Sea, we agreed. Despite our advantage of height, sand slithered across the earth in every direction and nobody could see its end. Somewhere out there, the Atlantic Ocean pounded these ancient sands on a forbidden beach. The sea briefly shared a furl of fog with us on our climb up, but it had lifted by the time we sprinted down the sloping dune again, toktokkie beetles scuttling down beside us and we made our way back towards the 4x4, and breakfast.