Day 2 in the 4wds

A quick pack up and breakfast and we were off on day 2. Back in the land cruiser and back on the “road”. It was really quite a good day as we were covering a fair few kms but we were stopping fairly regularly to get out and have a look around.
The landscape once again was incredibly desolate and the backdrop of the mountains behind were a spectacular array of colors. The area was so high still although by the end of the day we would have descended from 4800 to about 3500m above sea level.
To compare altitude, 3500m is just higher than the top of the slopes at Breckenridge and where we stayed at Alpe D’Huez was as 1800m and the top skiing again was just over 3000m. So basically we were bloody high up and you could feel it.
You don’t really think that you are at that altitude when you are looking around. Once you start walking around though you very quickly get out of breath. We also found that no one in the group really slept well either and we both certainly noticed hearts racing at certain times of the night. Still we had only been up at this altitude for less than 24hrs so on the whole we felt we had adjusted pretty well.
Although the landscape we were driving through was barren it could not be described as boring. The startling feature that you cannot help but keep noticing is that there is literally no vegetation. Even areas such as the Nullabor or Death Valley had the occasional plant or tree, here there is often absolutely nothing.
Still this makes for the uniqueness of the place. The main features we stopped to look at were rock formations which had been eroded by the winds and lagoons which were all beatiful colours due to the salt and the minerals in the water. These lagoons were also the home to three varieties of flamingo so most of the day was spent wandering (slowly) around these sights taking pictures and just taking in the raw beauty of the area.
We had by this stage met the whole group, we were twelve in total. We were very lucky to have such good group and we all struck a nice balance between camaraderie and having some space to enjoy the experience.
We were able to pick the brains of a few guys there as we were a fairly well travelled lot (I must remember the competition with Alex on the Been App), Jose helping us out with our trip to Equador and Enno sorting out where we should go in Columbia, many thanks to those guys. We also met Thibaut and Lucie from Liege who were great fun and we ended up bumping into again down the track. T

The vehicles and the drivers/guides

This was the view we had for much of the way, pretty desolate stuff but amazing that we managed to see such amazing sights in and around the area.  The road certainly wasn’t always this smooth though.

Admittedly the blue sky looks fake but the colours in the mountains were just as fantastic.  It was one of those instances where the more you looked the more you saw.

First stop of the day was the Liloli desert which basically were these rock formations which had been eroded by the wind over the years and were just literally out in the middle of nowhere.  It was so otherworldly that we almost had to pinch ourselves as we were walking around.

The first of the lagoons we stopped at was Honda.  Not only were the colours and the backdrop amazing but once again the lagoon was full of flamingos.  They are quite a strange bird and we likened them to supermodels, in that while they were buitiful they were also a little uncoordinated and delicate looking.

There must be some pretty fantastic algae and minerals in these lagoons to attract the flamingos as the weather and the altitude was pretty inhospitable. The sky is blue but the winds were quite incredible.

Lagoon Chiarkota was our next stop and once again was a combination of flamingoes, amazing backdrop and wonderfully different colours in the water.

The final lagoon we stopped at was Canapa lagoon which was certainly a lot bluer than the others and even had some greenery around its edges.  The photo below shows the wind whipping up a mini tornado across the once again beautiful lagoon.

These are Vicuña, a variety of Llama

This is actually an active volacano!  That is smoke billowing out of the top on the left hand side!  Once again just another amazing  sight to behold.

There certainly wasn’t much vegetation to be found and when we did come across some it was very unusual. This, when you touched it, felt like coral, hard and coarse.


Still in use, this train track crossed the whole area we had driven through.  We felt pretty safe in the knowledge that we would see the train coming in timetable get off the tracks.

Night number two was spent in this amazing salt hotel, the floors and the walls were made of salt.  We also had a great evening with the group which was only cut short by the fact that we had to depart at 4am the next morning.


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