Amanda Crowley

Deadvlei

Deadvlei, Namib-Naukluft Park, Namibia. 2019

As a rule I’m not a guided-tour person. I’m too jittery and excitable, too desperate to follow whatever weird thing catches my attention, and I hate having to follow someone else’s schedule. Unfortunately some places, like the Namibian desert, are too hardcore for me, a decidedly non-hardcore independent traveler.

From Swakopmund, the weirdest place I’ve ever spent four days, we ventured south to Sossusvlei in a van that might have had a suspension system twenty years ago. The bouncing and minor back injuries were worth it for the views.

So look: I have been to a lot of places where everyone takes the same picture. This is one of them. In some ways, though, that anticipation heightens the experience. You’re not only walking through this eerie, long dead forest — you’re walking through the photos, through the stories, through a landscape at once familiar and entirely alien.

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