Travel to Sossusvlei – Massive Sand Dunes
The monumental sand dunes of Sossusvlei are the main attraction for this region, the dunes are ranked as some of the most outstanding and well preserved in the world. The highest dune measures 325m and they are formed by strong multi-directional winds.
Amongst the high dunes of the enormous sand sea there is a clay pan, which was clearly formed by water. The pan only fills up when there has been sufficient rain in the catchment area of the Tsauchab which happens extremely rarely (most recently in 2000), when the pan fills, the area becomes a haven for birdlife until the waters rapidly soak away into the ground. Usually Sossusvlei is totally dry.
The entrance gate to the most famous part of the Dune Namib – and no doubt one of Namibia’s most notable sights – is located at Sesriem. From there it is still another good hour’s driving to Sossusvlei. Gates are open from before sunrise until after sunset to enable you to see the dunes at their best. The famous star dunes of Sossusvlei tower around the depression, offering thousands of themes to photographers – the most beautiful ones early in the morning and late in the afternoon when light and shadow create a more three-dimensional appearance of the landscape.
Do not hesitate to climb a dune! Only from the top will you experience their sheer size and your effort will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the sand sea. At Sossusvlei you will come across sign boards showing the way to another two depressions which are well worth a visit: ‘Dead Vlei’, a dry pan with lumps of clay and dead camelthorn and secluded little-known ‘Nara Vlei’. Walking tours are available in the dunes if you would like to discover more about the plant and wildlife.
There are several restcamps in the area in which to relax.
It is possible to drive through some parts of the park in a normal car however 4×4 is recommended – due to the fragile landscape all vehichles must stay on the roads. If you are traveling without 4×4 you will need to park your car and take a shuttle bus the final 5km to the centre of the dunes.
- To appreciate the full size of the dunes try to climb to the top of one!
- Take a hot air balloon ride to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the dunes.
- Join a walking tour through the dunes to discover more about the plants and wildlife.