We woke up early as usual ready for our second day of trekking across the desert. The morning sun was fighting a losing war against an armada of black and gray clouds that had been swept in from the coast. People associate the desert with sand and sun but the Namib as we were to learn that day has another darker side. Without the sun the freezing wind coming up from the South Pole was a relentless beast just as the sun had been just days before. The stoves no longer worked, the dirty fuel and sand thrown up by the wind had clogged up every part large enough to accommodate it, no morale boosting hot drink on a morning colder than any in recent memory. We struggled to get the tents down as the wind raged against them trying to make them castaways.

 Considering deserts are places devoid of any precipitation and therefore water, it has an uncanny resemblance to the ocean. The drops and rises resemble waves. The rocks and sand colour is dark and unforgiving that it is the very essence of the deep. In a land where there is no drinkable water, no people for hundreds of miles, only the raging wind, the unrelenting sun and the same scenery as far as the eye can see. It is easy to imagine been adrift in the middle of the ocean. No matter which way we look we are surrounded by the black rock and sand. Only far off in the distance there was mountainous land that resembles something out of a Tolkein book. Dark and foreboding amplified by darkness caused by the cloud and the eerie fog that had covered everything as far as the eye could see.

We walked for hours in this dark twilight. Heads down we walked in silence counting the numerous snake holes that made the ground look as if it had a thousand ravenous eyes glaring up at us, daring us to make a fatal mistake so it can open whatever gigantic mouth it has concealed under the sand an swallow us up. They look up at us hungrily their iris’s black even against the dark rock. On more than one occasion we came heard the hissing and slithering of snakes, from the corner of our eyes we could see them making their way through this vast ocean of sand and rock. Poisonous and deadly we avoided them as if they were sea monsters, and tried to walk as fast as we could to get through this deadly plain dark. A land covered in darkness, where your every move is watched by creatures with black eyes and forked tongues, where the air whistles and the ground hisses. I never thought that I could wish to walk under the glaring heat of the sun and over hot sand again because this ‘Plain of a Thousand Snakes’ is truly a land of nightmares.

Written by Jonny Fairclough     

Published by C&J Active