Added by Bryan Young
If you are looking to experience sunrises sitting atop some of the world’s highest sand dunes, otherworldly landscapes and epic sunsets among remote ablaze red dunes then make your next global travel destination Sossusvlei, Namibia.
Located just 4 hours southwest of the capital of Namibia – Windhoek – Sossusvlei is an otherworldly park, and one of Namibia’s most well-known attractions. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is best known for it’s towering red sand dunes, photographic salt flats and, for well, making you feel like you have just stepped out of your vehicle and landed on Mars.
Sossusvlei is part of the world’s oldest desert, the Namib, and is part of Africa’s largest conservation area, the Namib-Naukluft National Park. It provides visitors with a number of unique experiences mainly featuring photography and hiking, especially in the early morning and late afternoon “golden hours” of sun settings, and also to avoid the afternoon desert heat.
Sossusvlei can be entirely experienced in about 2 days, but to do so make sure you plan on…
- Watch the sunrise atop Dune 45 (when you make it to the top keep walking along the ridge until you reach the untouched knife’s edge of the dune for better pictures and to avoid the crowd at the top)
- Photograph Deadvlei (just Google images and you’ll be inspired if you haven’t seen them already!)
- Hike Big Daddy – the highest dune in Sossusvlei at 1,066 feet (325 m) that looks down on Deadvlei. It takes a while to get up, but only 5-10 minutes to run straight down!
- Take in the solitude of Hidden Vlei sunset (best with a local beer or your favorite wine)
- Explore the nearby Sesriem Canyon
There are lots of places to set up camp or relax in a resort, but Sesriem Camp Site with NWR is situated within the park confines and allows its campers more freedom in the park, letting them to enter an hour before sunrise and to return an hour after sunset, which other camping areas and lodges are not privy too, and helps campers experience the park to its full photographic potential.
Unless you are experienced in sand driving, do not attempt the 4x4 road past the parking area. While it says 4x4 only, it fails to mention, “experience necessary” and you will most likely get stuck in the deep sand. Just pay the 100-150 Rand fee for the shuttle!
Namibian Travel Tips:
Sossusvlei can be easily experienced in just 2 days, so plan to add some additional Namibian sites like the nearby Naukluft Zebra Mountain Park, beach towns of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, Spitzkoppe, Etosha National Park and game viewing, the Skeleton Coast and Fish River Canyon.
Most Namibian roads are gravel and there are lots of companies in Windhoek in which you can rent new 4x4 adventure vehicles (just be sure to be prepared with good insurance in case of the frequent windshield chips/cracks and flat tires). You can also sign up for backpacker trips that will arrange day and overnight trips as all. Overall there are lots of travel options around Namibia based on your travel preferences.
* Standard travel and camping gear based on your trip
* Warm clothing for the early morning sunrises
* 2 L water and socks/sandals for dune hiking (especially as the sand heats up)
* Sun protection (hat, sunscreen, sunglasses)
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
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