Desert and dunes, Namibia
The “Dune Sea” of Namibia’s Great Namib Desert runs over 200 miles from the Orange River to the South to the Kuiseb River to the North. It contains some of the oldest, largest, and reddest dunes in the world. These giants reach up to 300 meters above the parched river bed.
The Namib-Naukluft National Park covers 23,000 sq miles and is one of the largest parks in the world. The shifting sands are constantly changing here making this one of the most dynamic landscapes in the world.
Sossuvlei is at the heart of the desert and an excellent place to explore some of the largest dunes in the Namib. Sesriem is the main camp that allows access to the park and has good facilities.
This place does not look or seem of this earth. The light and contrasts are a photographers dream.
Check out my Namib-Naukfluft National Park page for more information.
Namib-Nauklfut National Park
Address: Sossuvlei, Namib-Naukluft National Park
Soussouvlei is a really nice place to go, %c
BUT: be warned. The road that goes in (and out, since it is only one) is 67 km long, the last 5 km are only permitted if you have a 4WD (and believe it, you will need it, since it is only sand there).
The road was tarred 1 year ago,when we were there(2003), but you wouldn't believe it. It has so many big potholes, that a normal gravel-road like elsewhere in Namibia would be better. The only thing what it improves is, that there isn't that much dust from the cars anymore.
If you go into this dead-end street and you are 2 cars: leave one outside, you must come back the same road anyway...
The big dunes begin after about 30 km.
Dune number 45, which is famous because its closest to the street can be climbed: just try it!
If you have a 4WD do the last 5 km, it is also quite fun driving.
In the Dead Vlei (at the end) you should go and walk a little (1km to, 1km back).
Directions: Sesriem to Soussouvlei, Dead Vlei and back
The sand of the dunes have different kinds of colours from red to beige. Don't miss to climb up one dune. Unfortunately I was to lazy that day and now I really regret it. The view you have from the top of one dune must be increadible.
Nov 2004 - Returned to Sossuvlei a second time! One reason: to climb at least one dune.
Finally I made it to the top of Dune Elin (for sunset) and Dune 45, of course for sunrise:-) Just like everyone :-) For me doing no sports since some month it was quite exhausting :-)
From the bottom it looks easy.
But wait till you start climbing. The kids ran up and down with no effort.
I made it to the top and has a photo to proof it. ( There is no way I will send it out into the world)
Once you got your breath back the view is stunning. Just be careful the sun really burns you up there.
Believe me that is the first thing people asks you when you come back from Namibia.
" Did you climb Dune 7"
So just do it.
Address: From Walsvis Bay on the way to the airport
Directions: Very close to Walvis Bay Airport.
You will see the signs.
Little canyon very near Sesriem's campsite. Its a canyon of great beauty that is worth the visit indeed. Of about 30 meters in deep, I did saw a little pool inside, but I have read that in rain season the canyon gets fill of water "That must be incredible to see"
It is not easy to see cause its appear suddenly.
The day I took a plain to flight over Namib Desert I saw it from the sky, and it was much longer that I imagne from the floor.
After climbing Dune 45 we had breakfast and went to Dead Vlei. It was really cold, very cold, even after walking for long time.
It was a long way to reach the Dead Vlei, over 5 km. We found gemsbok in our way. A white dry lake under our feet, and some more dunes to climb, but little ones. At last you reach where dead trees are, like burn ones, and where the bigest dune in the world is, "bigone".
The way back can be easyer cause you can take a shuttle to the parking. Follow the people to find the shuttle, is over 1 Km from the Dead Vlei.
Of course you must take water, is a long way. And if you want ... do it as I did, with bared feet, it was great.
Namib is one of the oldest deserts in the world. The name means vast, and is really a vast park of orange sand. Is one of the largest conservation area of the world. The sand was swept to Sossusvley from Kalahari Desert by the Orange River.
The landscape are really incredible beautiful. One of the most beautiful I have ever seen? Perhaps.
I spent 3 days here. One of the mornings I took a little plain and flight all over this red world. It was really great.
Dune 45 is over 170 metres above the valley floor, next to the road. Not the highest but easy to climb to.
It was 5 am when you get up at Sesriem Camp to go to Dune 45 to see the sunrise. All the groups of the camp where going to do the same, so at that time there was traffic jam at the middle of the desert :)
We arrive to the dune, it was very cold, but with the first steps the cold disappeared. As the day before I decided to take another way to climb the dune, but this time I took the wrong and more difficult way. My legs buried in the sand in every step but at last I get to the top and share with the others the sunrise.
I was a wonderful experience. After run down over that red sand.
After climbing some groups have champagne at the edge of the dune, I only had a normal breakfast :)
I went to Elim Dune over 5 pm to see the sunset. Everybody comes here to see the sunset cause is the nearest sand dune to Sesriem, about 5 km from it. It was my first contact with these incredible beautiful read dunes.
At the sand only big ants and desert beetles. The first steps to climb the dune are really hard cause your legs will be buried in the sand, try to find the better way to climb it. Some do follow others step, but I did search another way … that was much easier. After you must get down … but that is great fun, just run down.
It is worth the effort cause you will have a wonderful view from the top. Naukluft Mountains looks violet, the land is yellow and the dunes oranges and red, with some green spots … just a beautiful pallet of colours.
Take of your shoes and feel that sand in your bare feet.
It wasn't hot, but you must bring with you water, and have your mouth close ... you will finish with red sand everywhere.
From the Buellsport Guest Farm you can make some very nice walking-trips through the surroundings: Namib Naukluft park.
One of them is the walk through the Quivertree gorge.
By car you are being driven (via a viewpoint) to the beginning of the trail.
You descent into the gorge, you see wild zebras, quivertrees, dassies, antelopes and you find water on the ground. (very rare in this dry surrounding).
The water is so clear you can drink it or bath in it like in a natural bath-tube.
Further down the gorge you get picked up again and driven back.
Start: 7.30 am.
Back around 2 p.m. (depends how fast you walk)
Time to walk: 1.5-3.5 hours
Bring: enough water, good shoes.
Directions: Buellsport Guest Farm, Buellspoert
The orange-red sand dunes at Sossusvlei have been featured in numerous photos, advertisements, and movies (most notably 'The Cell,' starring Jennifer Lopez). About once every 20 years, when the rains are really good, the pan (desert lake) in front of the dunes fills with water and becomes an oasis for birds and other animals, as well as a spectacular subject for photographers.
Directions: In the Namib-Naukluft Park, southwest of Windhoek and south of Walvis Bay.
The Sossusvlei is a huge clay-pan, enclosed by mighty sand dunes of the Namib desert. Some of them reach a height of 300 meters, thus belonging to the highest in the world. Only after a heavy rainfall, which is very seldom in this area, does the vlei fill with water and this "lake" remains for quite some time.
We visited the Sossusvlei on a sunny day and climbed up "Dune number 45" - which was hot, dusty, strenuous and very much fun!!!
Carved by the Tsauchab River through sand and gravel, there are a couple of very pleasant walks through the 1km long canyon. From above, it is hardly noticable, and comes as quite a surpise as you get nearer.
Beautiful sunrise and the world's largest sand dunes. Staying in Sesriem Camp Site, we were able to reach the dunes before the crowds in the morning, meaning that there weren't so many people about. It's well worth getting up early to see the sunrise over the dunes.
Address: Southwest Namibia
As a child, when you thought of the desert, I'm sure you pictured mountains of bright red sand. Namibia has the desert of your dreams. The dunes are high, there is no scrub, and you will not be disappointed with the colour of the sand.
Travellers head to the area of Sessreim in the hope of getting up before sunrise, to enter the Namib Naukluft Park, and capturing a wonderful sunrise over the red dunes of the Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world. Sessreim is one of four entrances to the Park, and the most popular starting point for visitors wishing to see the dunes. It is about 65 km from Sossusvlei, the holy grail of dune visitors. The last 5 km can only be travelled in a 4x4 vehicle. Once you reach the last part of the paved road there is a car park, and you can continue in special vehicles for the last part of the journey.
We opted to avoid the crowds (well the other 3 people who joined us in the 4x4 vehicle) and headed off to Dead Vlei rather than to Sossusvlei. Nothing could have prepared us for the view that greeted us as we emerged from the path into the Vlei. The hard white pan in the midst of the desert tells the story of centuries of infrequent flooding from a river whose route has long since changed. The ground is baked hard and reflects the sun’s heat very effectively.
It is huge. I have yet to see the photo that gives the true impression of the size. The only break in the white of the ground, the red of the sand and the blue of the sky is a scattering of dead camelthorn trees. They are extremely photogenic, and indeed, this place is a photographer’s dream.
At the far end from the path you follow from the car park, is one huge dune, Big Daddy, which we climbed (read about that in the sports tips!).
Address: Sessreim entrance of the Namib Naukluft Park
Directions: Just over 200 km south of Windhoek. 3-4 hour car journey depending on the route selected. Park is accessible from 1 hour before dawn. Dead Vlei is some 65 km into the park.