Namibia’s Sossusvlei

Much of the Namib desert, which is the world’s oldest deserts, lies within the Namib-Naukluft National Park located in the southwest of Namibia. Sossusvlei, known for its rusty coloured dunes also falls within this national park. The Sossusvlei area is one of the most visited places in Namibia, and what a worthy attraction it is. This area although seemingly arid and exposed to the elements, is one of the most iconic landscapes in the country. The stark beauty of this untouched wilderness is breathtakingly beautiful and calls for admiration. Many travel far and wide to see and photograph these impressive red dunes.

This area is to be quite hot, so do take along a lot of water. But don’t be fooled by the scorching daytime sun, since the area has little vegetation to hold onto heat the evenings can be rather chilly. Entering through the Sesriem gate will take you to the Sossusvlei car park where you can find the “Big Daddy” dune situated between Sossusvlei and Dead vlei. It is the highest dune in the area at an astonishing 325 m. Although it might sound like a daunting challenge, it’s well worth the climb since the view from the top over Dead vlei is beyond comparison. The best time of day to visit the dune is early morning or late afternoon. Other site-worthy attractions in this area include Elim dune, Sesriem Canyon, Dune 45 and Hidden vlei, all sight-worthy locations to gander at or photograph. Do look out to see the few oryx and springbok that live in the area.

Dead Vlei was once the endpoint of the Tsauchab River which’s historic water path can be seen from the Sesriem canyon. As the climate changed and the waterflow became blocked by the sand dunes, all that remain from this once water-rich area are dried camelthorn trees, giving the vlei its iconic look. The trees are estimated to be around 900 years old. Sossuslvei itself is what most visitors come to see. It is a large salt pan surrounded by grass, Acacia trees and shrubs, framed by the vast expanses of the red sand dunes in the area. After good rainfall every few years, you might be lucky enough to see a shallow lake form in the vlei as the Tsauchab river feeds into the area. The accumulated water astoundingly transforms the dry, hot, desert vlei into a magical place filled with water lilies, dragon flies and birds. Don’t miss out on this natural wonder, come see Sossusvlei for yourself.