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Situated in the largest conservation area in Africa (the Namib-Naukluft National Park), Sossusvlei is possibly Namibia’s most spectacular and best-known attraction. Characterised by the large red dunes that surround it, Sossusvlei is a large, white, salt and clay pan and is a great destination all year round. The dunes in this area are some of the highest in the world, reaching almost 400 meters, and provide photographic enthusiasts with wonderful images in the beautiful morning and evening light.
Sossusvlei literally translates to “dead-end marsh”, as it is the place where the dunes come together preventing the Tsauchab River to flow any further, some 60km east of the Atlantic Ocean. However, due to the dry conditions in the Namib Desert the River seldom flows this far and the pan remains bone-dry most years. During an exceptional rainy season the Tsauchab fills the pan, drawing visitors from all over the world to witness this spectacular site. Photographic enthusiasts are spoilt with a glassy “lake” holding reflections of the surrounding dunes. When the pan fills it can hold water for as long as a year.
Despite the harsh desert conditions in the area, one can find a wide variety of plants and animals that have adapted to survive.
All of the attractions surrounding Sossusvlei are easily accessible as all but the last 5 kilometers of the 65 kilometer drive to the vlei is tarred. Shuttles provide access to the last 5 kilometers, should you not have a 4×4 vehicle.
There are a number of attractions around Sossusvlei for visitors to explore, including Sesriem Canyon, Dune 45, Hiddenvlei, Big Daddy and Deadvlei. The interesting landscape makes this area one of the most photographed in the world. For those travelling to Sesriem (the Namib-Naukluft National Park’s entrance gate) by road, the little settlement of Solitaire is not to be missed as Big-Moose, the local baker, makes delicious world-famous apple strudel!
Accommodation around Sossusvlei ranges from camping, through self-catering and mid-range lodges, to the ultimate in luxury lodges. This allows visitors to the area to find accommodation that meets their needs. No matter where you stay, the vastness of the desert allows for ample space and privacy.