As it was our little C13 (little on the map, quite decent in reality) followed, for a while, the path of the Orange River as it cuts its way through a moonscape of rocky mountains, pale dust, and fields of stone. For a long time the river is invisible in its gorge and there is no inkling as to its watery presence in the landscape from which all life seems to have been sucked.
Below, between us and the mountains lay the river, quite hidden.
This grass, standing alone near the road with a single thorn plant growing at its feet, started to transform my opinion about what matters, botanically. Everything becomes important. And everything is beautiful. Context: the secret of everything.
These were our first dunes, and not where we expected them, still so far from the Namib.
At last rejoining the river after passing incongruous, saturated green vineyards irrigated by the stream, and a settlement of impoverished reed houses perched on nothing but bare rock, our path followed the river through the Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.
The air around it smelled like honey. No more, no less. Pale orange lizards darted from my feet like quicksilver.
Nearby we found these spikes, and saw them many more times on the trip. The pink flowers I did not see again.
Below - the shadow of the valley of death? - the view just before we descended to the plain preceeding, and the incredibly corrugated road leading to Rosh Pinah - the road out of which is impeccably tarred and populated at intervals on that quiet Sunday by equally impeccable, huge trucks carrying mysterious mining things.
Up next. The unexpectedness of Aus.