We turned off of the B-1 tarmac road after re-fueling the 4×4 camper in Rehoboth…west, onto the C24, a road like many we had seen before on this trip of a lifetime. Rough, yellow-orange gravel lay before us and there was no turning back. We had been back in the capital city of Windhoek for two days, (after being out on the road for two weeks traveling with my sister and brother-in-law). We had three nights of dinners and partying with great family members of my brother-in-law, and other friends and artists. On the third day it was time to ready ourselves for our next eight days out in the wilds of Namibia! Laundry had been on the to-do list, so the three of us had clean clothes…and we made a trip to the big Maerua Super Spar to provision, filling the long pull-out drawers in the bed of the camper with food, coffee, bottled water, wine, and toilet paper…because you just never knew.
Our yellow-orange gravel road turned into a “tertiary road,”…translate – bumpier and narrower, skittery gravel on top of dust…the D1275. It is the connector, the skinniest red line on the map…between the tiny town of Nauchas and the outpost of Solitaire….via the fabled Spreetshoogte Pass.
These roads etched tiny lines on the massive escarpment reaching heights of 5,800 feet in elevation with sections of road sporting a 22% grade! From the dizzying heights of the escarpment we could see an expanse of desert and distant mountains that seemed to drop off of the back edge of the horizon. I had never been on any road so steep. It used to be all gravel, but some of the steepest sections have now been paved with bricks to cause less washboard and slippage. We made our way down gingerly, never escaping the feeling that the camper with its roof tents was going to tip over. But the angle of the grade lessened and we made it to the bottom of the wild plateau.
Onward to Solitaire…for a stop at Moose MacGregor’s bakery for apple crumble pie and tea!
We didn’t pass many other travelers on the Namibian back roads, but if we were following one, we gave them plenty of distance to avoid eating their dust. The small painting above, “Road D1275” was inspired by one of the sections of road from that day. You can see a car and it’s dust plume as it disappears around a curve.
The painting “Road D1275” and others can be viewed on my Available Work page. If you have questions or are interested, please let me know.
Here are a few more images of the outpost of Solitaire in the Namib-Nakluft desert…on the way to Sossusvlei.
Photos by John Wiley.
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