Wanderlust

Literary journeys for the discerning traveler

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Staff Report: Namibian Highlights -- Deadvlei

By Alysa Pakkidis | 9/24/13

Namibia - Deadvlei by Alysa Pakkidis

It was as if I were looking at a painting. The contrast of the 900-year-old dead tree skeletons on the white clay pan against the red dunes and blue sky was definitely tricking my eyes. But the place was real all right, and even though I was looking right at it, it was still hard to believe. After a short hike over a few dunes in Namib-Nauklaft Park, the Namibia Misfits (an endearing name the small group of eight I was traveling with had given ourselves), our guide, Jeremiah, and I were standing upon a mystical landscape known as Deadvlei, or “dead marsh.”

Equal parts eerie, ancient, and awe-inspiring, Deadvlei is one of those places that you just have to see in person to experience its true beauty. I sat in the middle of the clay pan, leaned up against one of the dead tree trunks, and just breathed in the scenery. It was easy to let other thoughts go and simply be present in the moment of being there.

Being at Deadvlei was like seeing a glimpse of what the world may have been like before civilization: vast and desolate, yet endlessly beautiful. I understood the need to be there during sunrise or sunset, to capture the best light or to be able to view one of the clearest skies in the world. Deadvlei was truly magical; I was so happy it wasn’t a painting.

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