When the alarm went off this morning, for once Crystal didn't wake up. Incredibly, this was one of the few times Justin actually did wake up to the alarm. We got up a little early, before Ambrosius came by to give us our "official" wake-up call, so that we could pack most of our stuff before heading out on the truck. After eating breakfast, we were out by ourselves with Ambrosius. We headed out southwest, towards the dunes again. Interestingly, the dunes that were reddish yesterday afternoon were now more golden, and the golden ones from the afternoon prior were now red. It seemed as though the more direct sunlight, the more reddish the dunes appeared. We stopped the truck here and there, checking out dunes and animals we saw. We stopped for awhile at Dune 47, walking up to the base.

Eventually we went all the way past Big Daddy and Big Momma, to "actual" Sossusvlei. For the entire area being generically referred as Sossusvlei, the actual Sossusvlei is quite small. We saw an owl that was remarkably well camoflauged, and also a bright yellow bird that was anything but. As with yesterday afternoon, the drive back was a bit rushed. We made it back just in time to pack the last few things and then change shoes (to sandals) for our flight(s) up to Hartmann Valley. At the airport, the pilot didn't show us going to Hartmann Valley, but told us he'd figure it out. We had no choice but to trust him on that. The flight was very full, with six rows of three people, one on the left and two on the right. We were the last ones on, and stuck on the right (everyone had been trying to get the single seats on the left), but if proved fortuitous to be on the right, as there ended up being less glare and more to see on the right.

We started the flight by heading southwest over the dunes, including over Big Mama, Big Daddy, Dead Vlei and Sossusvlei. It wasn't long before we were at the coast, where we veered north and hugged the Skeleton Coast. We saw a couple of shipwrecks, the Eduard Bohlen (which had been pushed in a good distance from the shore) and the Shaunee. We also saw some abandoned diamond camps, and saw a bunch of sea lions along the coastline. We also ate a bunch of biltong, which is this gamey jerky they have in South Africa and Namibia. We don't know exactly what was in it, and probably don't want to know exactly what was in it, but it tasted great.

We landed at Swakopmund, which was a bit of a surprise since the pilot hadn't mentioned that when we took off. But when they took our bags off the plane, we took that as a pretty clear sign that we were switching planes to head up to Hartmann Valley. We got on a much smaller plane, with John, a Wilderness Safari employee who was heading up to our camp to check in and see how things were going, and our pilot Tricia, who looked to be about 30. She was from the Yukon, but now flying safari planes in Namibia for a living. It was a nice flight up to Hartmann Valley, not very bumpy, and Crystal listened to music while Justin slept. John actually thought Justin wasn't feeling well and was going to yack, but Justin was just nodding off. We landed around 4pm in the middle of nowhere. We knew the camp was near the Kunene river, but there was no river in sight, just a bunch of nothing. We met our guide Gerhardus, who told us it would be about 45 minutes to Serra Cafema Camp. On the drive in we saw some of the same wildlife as around Kulala, mainly oryx and springbok, mostly oryx. We chatted with John and Tricia about Wilderness Safaris and travel generally. We recommended to John that Wilderness Safaris open up some properties in Madagascar, because while Madagascar had incredible scenery, there were no established tour operators or infrastructure in place for moving people around to the various sights. After hearing us talk for awhile, Trish told us that we should try to meet up with Richard and Vivian, whom she had flown up to Serra Cafema a few days earlier. She said we'd get along swimmingly, based on our shared travel interests.

It took about an hour to get to camp. The terrain was very hilly in some places, so the roads weren't remotely straight. At one point we drove/slid down a 45 degree incline for about 15 seconds. We asked whether we come up that way as well - no. Gerhardus told us that there is just one way out of the camp, which we'd see soon enough. The camp was in an oasis of green, right along river on the border between Namibia and Angola. Our room (#7) was the farthest one along the riverbank on the west side, closest to the rapids. The tent was huge, and there was also a large outdoor deck with a reading area, hammock, and outdoor shower. We got situated, then went out on an afternoon drive. It was already fairly late, so we didn't go too far, driving to a hill near the camp, with a good view of the river. While up there the wind really picked up, and we were worried everything would blow away. But we had some good sundowners, along with some biltong and dried mango, just enjoying the solitude.

We headed back to camp shortly after sunset, and got back a bit before 8. We got cleaned up for dinner, and headed over to the dining area. Everyone was sitting around the bar chatting, and after a couple drinks we decided to eat as a communal group rather than individually (minus a french couple that had already sat down). We were at a table with John and LeAnne, who were each Wilderness Safaris employees checking in on the camp, Trish, the pilot, and Richard and Vivian, a nice couple from the London area. The waiter told us that there were two choices for dinner, bacon-wrapped filet or game. We asked what the game was, and he said in a very low voice "Oryx," as if the other Oryx in the area were going to hear him. Several of the people ordered the Oryx, also whispering. When it got to Justin he said "ORYX!", which got a nice laugh from the table. We were out until past 11, when someone finally realized how late it was. We staggered back to our room, across the hanging bridge, which is not something you really want to deal with while intoxicated. But we made it across safely.