A land that time forgot.

Sossusvlei, the most spectacular and well-known landmark in Namibia, is located in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, the continent’s largest conservation area. Sossusvlei is a huge white salt and clay pan that is a popular tourist attraction all year round and is distinguished by the enormous red dunes that surround it. The over 400-meter-high dunes in this region are some of the highest in the world, and in the lovely morning and evening light, they make for stunning photographs for photographers.

Why visit Sossusvlei?

The name Sossusvlei, which is located about 60 kilometers east of the Atlantic Ocean where the Tsauchab River meets the dunes, literally translates to “dead-end marsh.” The Namib Desert’s arid climate prevents the River from flowing thus far, and most years, the pan is completely dry. The Tsauchab fills the pan during an unusual rainy season, attracting tourists from all over the world to see this magnificent sight. A sparkling “lake” that contains reflections of the surrounding dunes spoils photographers. The pan can store water for up to a year once it is filled.

Despite the severe desert environment, a great diversity of flora and animals can be found there that have evolved to survive.

All but the final 5 kilometers of the 65-kilometer drive to Sossusvlei are paved, making all of the nearby sites quite convenient to reach. Those without 4×4 vehicles can access the final 5 kilometers using shuttles.

Over many millions of years, the Namib Desert’s distinctive red sand dunes have developed. The Orange River deposited red sand into the Atlantic Ocean, where it formed the dunes. This sand was then distributed north by the Benguela current and returned to the land by the ocean’s surf. Over time, the wind from here moved the red sand further inland, forming the dunes.

The wind shapes the dynamic sand dunes in the Namib Desert. Due to the wind’s ability to shape the sand dunes in and around Sossusvlei, they are known as “star dunes.”


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