Fast Facts

  • Location: In the southern part of the Namib Desert in west Namibia
  • Attraction Type: Natural wonder
  • Significance: World’s highest sand dunes with changing hues as the day progresses
    • Best Time to Visit: May to September
    • Visiting Time: During sunrise, morning, at sunset
    • How to Reach: By 4 wheel drive vehicle from Windhoek
    • Nearest International Airport: Windhoek International Airport

Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert is famous for the world’s highest sand dunes. These sand dunes in the early morning sun are a fantastic spectacle in bright hues of red, orange and yellow. Early mornings and late afternoons teem with tourists and photographers in Namibia Sossusvlei. These sand dunes of Sossusvlei are a part of Namib Naukluft Park, Africa’s largest conservation area and the world’s fourth-largest.

‘Vlei’ in the Afrikaans language refers to a water-filled depression. The depression is Sossusvlei is the result of sand dunes closing in around Tsauchab River that flows through this area. Usually bone dry, Sossusvlei is thronged by local inhabitants when there is an exceptional rainfall and river Tsauchab flows. Sossusvlei in Namibia is almost circular encircled by magnificent dunes. Beyond the dunes, you would see undulating sand stretching miles across up to the sea coast. The Tsauchab River plain interrupted by huge sand dunes in brilliant shades of orange and red in the early morning creates an awesome color canvas. Sesriem Canyon is another stupefying natural feature of Sossusvlei. ‘Sesriem’ literally comes from ‘ses’ meaning ‘six’, and ‘riem’ meaning thongs. Early African trekkers needed six thongs to reach out to the water level in the canyon. The canyon begins as a deep cleft from stony level ground and gradually widens to form a flattened plain. The depth and cleft allow water to remain in this canyon for extended periods, and this creates a stark contrast to the otherwise barren landscape.

Sossusvlei sand dunes are about an hour’s drive from Sesriem campsite. The gates of Sesriem open in proper time to allow visitors to reach Sossusvlei before sunrise. If you are traveling in a two-wheel-drive vehicle you need to walk the last kilometer since the car cannot go near the dunes because of bad tracks. However, in a 4 wheel drive sedan, you could go nearer to the dunes.

Accommodation and Dining

Sesriem Campsite is the best place to stay overnight to be in time at Sossusvlei during sunrise. As the early morning progresses towards late mornings it gradually becomes warmer and eventually too hot to stay outdoors. Apart from Sesriem Campsite, you could also put up in Kulala Lodge, Kulala Wilderness Camp, Little Kulala, or Sossusvlei Wilderness Camp. At Sesriem food is available from a restaurant, and a general store. A bar in Sesriem campsite allows you to relax after a tough day visiting Sossusvlei.

Related Links : Check out the unique experience of ballooning over the Namib Dunes in this video. You can fully grasp the majesty of the dunes from this short clip.

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