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Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert

Although the name Sossusvlei strictly refers to a specific pan, this term is commonly used to describe the area of the Namib-Naukluft Park that is accessible through the Sesriem gate. It includes Sesriem (with its gate and its canyon), the dunes corridor, Deadvlei, Sossusvlei and Hiddenvlei pans, as well as the nearby lodges, inside or outside the park boundaries.

Sesriem is a small settlement located in the Namib Desert, close to the southern end of the Naukluft Mountains. It is especially known because the "Sesriem gate" is the main access point to the Namib-Naukluft National Park for visitors entering the park, in order to visit the nearby tourist attractions. That is where the two lodges inside the park are located. Sesriem is also known for the Sesriem Canyon, about 4 km from Sesriem itself, which is the second most important tourist attraction in the area (after Deadvlei). It is a natural canyon carved by the Tsauchab River in the local sedimentary rock, about a kilometre (0.6 mile) long and up to 30 meters (100 feet) deep.

From there, the gravel road leads to the dunes corridor: the road is surrounded on both sides by gigantic orange dunes, up until it reaches the 2x4 parking. From there on, the next 5 kilometres require a 4x4 to make your way through the sick sand and reach the beautiful pans of Deadvlei and Sossusvlei.

Deadvlei is surely one of the most spectacular sights in Namibia, a postcard-perfect picture. Climbing to the top of Big Daddy, as it is known to the locals, is well worth every bead of sweat. Located at the foot of Big Daddy, its dead camelthorn trees, some over 800 years old, stand helplessly in the white pan, as photographers worldwide attempt to capture that unique, ageless desert shot.

Out of view from the 2x4 car park, tucked behind a dune, is Hiddenvlei. Many species of bird shelter here on both dead and live camelthorn trees.

As to the Sossuvlei pan, it is located a bit further from Deadvlei, and is overlooked by a dune called "Crazy Mama".

For most of the year, all three vleis are little more than huge hollows in the ground with no water.

The best time to view the whole area is close to sunrise and sunset. In the golden hour, the light is better, and the colours re constantly changing, allowing for wonderful photographic opportunities. However, the midday heat is intense and best spent in the shade.

Namibia

Tours visiting Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert

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