The landscape is otherworldly and like nowhere else on earth. Red iron-rich dunes tower hundreds of meters above a sea of undulating sand and deathly dry mud pans. The colours subtly change during the day as the sun sweeps across the impossibly blue, cloudless sky. It is surely one of the most beautiful natural wonders that you will ever see and is a photographer’s dream.
What Makes Sossusvlei So Special?
It is a humbling example of the incredible diverse beauty of this planet and will make you feel small, awestruck and glad to be alive.
The only options to climb the dunes before sunrise are to stay at the camp or the nearby lodges, which are more luxurious but a great respite from the heat of the day. At night, staring up at the desert sky is like a jewel-studded blanket, revealing stars brighter than you will have ever seen against the darkest of skies. A truly breathtaking experience.
If you are up early, it will be a mad dash to reach Dune 45 by four-wheel drive to start the morning climb in the dark. But once you reach the 80-metre high dune, you’ll realise that climbing these ancient, shifting sands is no easy task - but the rewards for those that do are immense.
A Magical Dune wonderland
When you climb any of the Sossusvlei dunes it feels like there’s no end in sight, as you can climb for hours yet there is always more to explore - higher dunes on the horizon that make you wonder what the view is like from over there. Despite what you may think the desert isn’t a dry, parched landscape devoid of wildlife.
Perched up high on the dunes such as Big Daddy (325 meters high) or Big Mama, you’ll see evidence of desert animals. Dimpled with animal tracks, criss-crossing the sand, you might even see Oryx, Ostriches or Springboks. Even when the briefest of rains fall in Sossusvlei, the landscape turns from a parched, hostile-looking place to one of ephemeral beauty, springing into life for days or weeks.
If you are lucky enough to visit between March and May, even a brief downpour can transform the desert from shades of brown to vivid greens.
It’s easy to fall in love with Namibia and Sossusvlei, a magical place that is unlike anywhere on earth.