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Into the Namib

Stage 75 (56): Solitaire to Sesreim

Once again, we’re into it just before sunrise. The initial stretch of gravel is pretty good, having been recently graded; that illusion soon enough evaporates and it’s back into the combination of bad corrugations and/or wheel-grabbing loose sand. At least it promises to be a short day.

The sun rises over a stunning landscape; amazingly blue sky with dramatic hills on our immediate left (east). One has to be careful not to rubber-neck too much, as the cycling really does demand concentration. It’s best just to stop, take a swig of water, and take a photo.

We get to the only coke stop of the day and it turns out to be a rather luxurious lodge. Nevertheless, a welcoming proprietor and staff serve up a pretty good cappuccino. Alas, the muffins and cake are all gone by the time we arrive there. This might be the story of my ride this year!

Lunch stop made in reasonable time, given the conditions. Pressing on after a short break, the day has turned very warm although I later find it only got to 30°, not hot by Namib standards.

A recent upgrade to the spur road leading to Sesreim sees us on tarmac for the last 12 km of the day. It feels wonderful.

Sesreim is essentially a filling station with basic services, including a busy camping area and bar/restaurant. Its claim to fame is that it is the main access point to the Namib-Naukluft National Parkand the nearby tourist attraction of Sossusvlei.

We’ve elected to not camp with the main TDA crowd but to upgrade to the next-door Sossusvlei Lodge. It’s the only place around serving dinner, anyway other than the Sesreim bar which seems more focused on beer and chips. Almost all the riders are here with us for a truly expansive buffet-style dinner under the stars.

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