Lets go photograph the Sossusvlei Dunes
The Sossusvlei Dunes are in the middle of the Namib desert, in the stunning Namib-Naukluft Park, nestled between the Skeleton Coast and the gravelly Naukluft mountains. Sossusvlei is a large salt-clay pan surrounded by the largest and most spectacular sand dunes in the world. There are huge, orangey-red mountains of pure sand for as far as the eye can see, each one more impressive than the last. Most of them have a name, making them easier to identify, although that isn’t always as straightforward as you might think.
The wind blows the soft sand from all directions, constantly altering and sculpting their shape, earning them a group nickname, The Star Dunes’.
The landscape is ever-changing but always breath-taking. Who doesn’t want to walk along the desert floor and admire the tallest dunes?
When to Visit Sossusvlei?
Sossusvlei is accessible at any time of the year. Namibia is one of the sunniest countries in the world, with an average of 300 sunny days a year.
We recommend visiting the area from May to October when the cooler winter temperatures make exploring the area enjoyable.
The temperature can get quite hot during the summer, so be prepared and ensure you carry some water and drink often.
Sossusvlei Dunes – The Main Attraction
Whether you’re exploring the area as part of a custom guided tour or an independent trip, there is always a temptation to try and climb them. Sadly, they are in a protected area, and climbing many of them is strictly forbidden. They have stood for more than 5-million years, and the people of Namibia intend to make sure they remain for another 5-million!
There is an exception to every rule, and Dune 45 is just that. Named after its distance from the Sesneim Park Gate, 45km, tourists are encouraged to try and climb it. It may look simple from its base, a steady climb of 80-meters to the summit. But most people don’t account for the super-soft, warm sand that slips from beneath their feet with every step. It doesn’t detract from the fun as many people make it to the top; most with bare feet for better traction. The view from the top of is awe-inspiring, while the slide back down brings out the kid in everyone.
Discover the Desert with Traces in the Sand
The highest and more stable dunes are partially covered by a rich, green vegetation. Watered by countless underground rivers that seasonally flood the pans and petrified trees with water. Those creating marshes have been named vlei; when dry they look almost white because of their high salt concentration, which reflects light differently from wet ground.
The orange Sossusvlei sand dunes in Namibia is full of life. . The morning fogs that enter the desert from the Atlantic Ocean provide water and humidity to this dry and barren landscape.
It is home to too many species that are specially adapted for life in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, including antelopes, oryxes, springboks ostriches, as well as rodents and jackals. The area also plays host to several migratory bird species during their annual journeys from wintering grounds elsewhere along rivers and marshes; these include African fish eagles kites. Fog beetles have developed an ingenious technique of collecting water droplets by using the bumps on its back this helps them survive even when there isn’t much moisture around.
Finding the Sossusvlei Dunes
Enter the park at the Sesneim gate early in the morning is best as it gets busy. At this gate is a fuel station and a hut; it is hardly glamorous. Ensure you have plenty of provisions for the day. Follow the dry bed of the Tsauchab river as its severe flatness is in such contrast to the dunes that rise and fall at either side. Some stand more than 300m from the valley floor. The Elim Dune is at the northeast end of the river and affords tourists the most spectacular views of all. Few places on earth provide a wondrous sunset such as this. If you’re driving a 2WD vehicle, there are places to park and jump on a shuttle service to take you into the heart of the dunes. Well-signed paths lead to the Hidden Vlei, go on foot, stand in the isolating, eerily quiet pan, and amaze at some of the highest Sossusvlei dunes that surround it.
Sossusvlei’s Unique Landscape
The sand is like no other you’ve seen before. The deep orange colour was created centuries ago when tiny iron particles oxidize and turn rust-coloured in the moist fog that hangs over these vast expanses of desert. Older dunes are more vivid, while new ones have a delicate shade of light yellow to them as they haven’t yet had time to change colours through oxidation.
Sesriem is the gateway to Sossusvlei. It’s a long, lonely drive from civilization up to this desert outpost. There are only two essential functions in this little settlement: the petrol station and park office for Namib-Naukluft National Park . The canyon of Sesriem has been shaped over millions of years by Tschaub River; it holds water all year around! To top off your fun day out, here’s some info about how “Sesriem” was given its name – Afrikaans explorers used six leather straps tied together and lowered into the canyon to get their water supply from below.
Have You Ever Wanted to Explore a Canyon?
Sesriem Canyon is the perfect place for those who want to experience something different. The trails are narrow and winding, so it’s not recommended for anyone with claustrophobia or fear of heights. But if you’re up for an adventure, then this is the place for you!
With its strange rock formations and secluded pools of water, Sesriem Canyon offers a unique experience that can’t be found anywhere else in Namibia. It’s like nowhere else on earth! You’ll never forget your time exploring this amazing canyon.
Are You Looking For the Best Time to Visit Sossusvlei?
The Namib Desert is a vast, beautiful and diverse landscape. It’s home to some of the world’s most captivating natural attractions like Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei. With an average of 300 sunny days a year, Namibia is actually one of the sunniest countries in the world!
We recommend visiting from May to October when cooler winter temperatures make exploring and photographing the landscape more enjoyable. Southern Africa school holidays are peak travel periods so accommodation and camping options can fill up. If you are visiting in summer months, temperatures get quite warm, so pack accordingly and always carry enough water.
The Namibia Night Sky
You are going to be surprised at how many more stars we could see when stargazing in Namibia. Stars are especially impressive at night, and the almost total absence of light pollution means that you can actually see them while they’re still shining brightly. Luxury safari lodge concessions offer scopes, star-bed sleeps outs, scorpion hunts and outdoor observatories for guests’ enjoyment of the amazing desert sky.
If you’re lucky enough to stay overnight, book a room in Sesneim. With the ridges of the Sossusvlei dunes surrounding it, be prepared to take some of the most stunning sunrise and sunset photographs imaginable. What the Sossusvlei desert lacks in shopping experiences, it makes up for a million times over with breath-taking views of this natural wonder.
Why not checkout our blogs on Big Daddy and Sossusvlei Photo Hotspots
Frequently Asked Questions
Our most frequently Asked Queations
The unique landscape of Sossusvlei Dunes is a result of a long erosion process. The annual monsoon rains and the salt from the surrounding desert have created this spectacular landscape.
Sossusvlei is a desert in Namibia, with the lowest point being at -27 meters below sea level. It’s also home to a unique landscape that has been shaped by the desert climate and the wind. These features make Sossusvlei an interesting place to visit. The Sossusvlei desert is believeto be 5 million years old.
Sossusvlei is a tourist attraction because of the natural beauty it offers. The area is made up of sand dunes, salt pans, and rocky mountains. The colors from the sand dunes, the salt pans, and the rocks are beautiful. The colors can change depending on what time of day it is and what season it is. In addition to being beautiful, Sossusvlei is also a place where people can come to experience the African desert.