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Dunes at Sossusvlei (Namibia)

Ants. Human Ants.  In a line scrambling up a massive sand dune in the dark.  This was not my idea of fun.  But I joined the ant line and started trudging my way up that dune, heart pounding and breath rattling.  Feet slipping back six inches for every foot gained.  All in the quest of viewing one of the most photographed daybreakson the planet ... sunrise over the famed Namibian red dunes.We were up at 4:30 in the morning after getting a coveted camping spot inside the park at Sesrium at the entrance of the valley of the dunes.  This was not a great campground, but it did allow us to get in the queue of cars so when the gate opens we could be among the first in a long line of cars rushing into the dunes. If you were late, you would miss the sunrise. Once inside the park, every vehicle made for the same parking lot, and then all the ants poured out and started climbing in a noisy, humming line of creeping humanity.While our guide drove sanely at the park speed limit, others careened past in the mad scramble to get their ants unloaded at the dune first.  I thanked our guide for being safe.  I was grateful nobody hit an oryx rushing into the park in the dark. I grumbled up the first part of the dune. But as I climbed and as the light filled the sky, my black mood lifted with the sun.  The sky turned pink and then white and the dunes - a surreal terra cotta soft shimmering sand - glowed more beautifully with the light.  Like someone turned on a magical light from within the earth.  They looked different every few minutes as the light continued to change.This is truly one of the

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