Perhaps the most enduring image of Namibia, Sossusvlei’s gracefully arching red dunes tower over the surrounding Namib Desert. Regarded as some of the highest sand dunes in the world, Sossusvlei’s undulating landscape changes colour with the passing of the day, from burnished gold to deep red depending on the height of the sun.
One of the best ways to wake yourself up for the day ahead is with a dawn stroll through the dunes to the wide expanse of Deadvlei, its gnarled, crouching acacia trees appearing like cruelly twisted figures in the early light. The early start is worth it as you’ll time your climb of Big Daddy perfectly; the most prominent of the dunes is best ascended before the sun gets too high in the sky. You’ll need to stay close to the park entrance, at Sesriem, to make the dawn excursion, but there are plenty of accommodation options available. Sossuvlei holidays span a wide spectrum of comfort levels, from basic private camps in reserves to luxury lodges.
The name Sossusvlei describes the large salt and clay pan in the centre of the desert, but has come to encompass the surrounding area of Deadvlei and the dunes. The area is one of the most popular highlights in Namibia, and many people make the journey to the southern reaches of the Namib Desert to climb the dunes, take extraordinary photographs and learn about the area’s curious history. The most famous features are undoubtedly the red dunes, some towering over 380 metres tall. The oldest dunes are the deepest red, the vibrant colour occurring due to the high levels of iron in the sand. Neighbouring clay pan Deadvlei was formed when the Tsauchab River flooded, creating pools where acacia trees grew, only to be killed by the following draught. The skeletal forms of the trees remained, believed to have died 700 years ago, blackened and preserved by the sun.
Visits to Sossusvlei are easily accessible from Windhoek; you can take a daily scheduled flight from the main airport, or drive the mostly paved road to the Sesriem Gate. The drive takes around four or five hours from either Windhoek or Swakopmund.
To book our holidays to Sossusvlei today or for more information on your dream holiday to Namibia, call our Travel Specialists for Africa.