THIS ARTICLE is written by Sam McConnell.
Sam spent many years working as a desert guide in Namibia and once walked solo and unsupported across the Dune Sea of the Namib Desert.
Here are his pointers for anyone else considering a first foray into the desert.
10 Tips for a Desert Expedition
- The best people to teach you about the desert are the Bedu. But it’s pretty easy really – water and shade.
- The morning’s march is the most important as you have to find shade by midday.
- Water, well you should be drinking about three litres a day, check the colour of your urine. Orange bad, clear good.
- Don’t drink too much (hyper-hydration), this is potentially leathal. If you get up in the night for a pee more than once you have.
- Take loads of salt on your food.
- Check your boots in the morning for squatters
- Speed kills, a slow steady pace is what you need.
- Make sure you wear a wide brimmed hat and good sunglasses. You can suffer a similar condition to snowblindness
- Always sleep out on open patches of sand/gravel. Never close to rocks and bushes.
- Remember deserts can get cold at night, at altitude and in winter, as sand radiates heat quickly.
…and whatever happens don’t drink your own piss, or anyone elses for that matter.
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How to Cross a Desert
The only guide to desert expeditions in the modern day.
“The perfect resource” – Bear Grylls
“An excellent book” – Sir Ranulph Fiennes
For more advice on desert travel, see my Desert Expedition Resources section.