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Desert Nature


Home / Namibia destinations / Sossusvlei


Subtle shifting sand dunes sculpted by the wind, Sossusvlei is often referred to as the “Dune Sea”.  Located in the heart of the Namib Naukluft Park, Sossusvlei facets an air of isolation and tranquility where one can find perspective and serenity amongst the orange dunes and ‘cracked white floor’ of the vlei (dried up saltpan).  To experience the full magnitude of this ancient 32000 square kilometers sand see, one has to climb the dunes.  The highest dune being Big Daddy at 325 meters is the most accessible but toughest to take on. The reward however is a panoramic view of the Dead Vlei with the 900-year-old Camelthorn trees.  The contrasts of the shadows on the dunes, the clear blue sky and blackened dead trees against the orange dunes will seduce any visitor and is a must see when visiting Namibia.

Image by Fábio Hanashiro


  • In the Nama language, "Sossus" means "a gathering place for water". "Vlei" is Afrikaans for "a shallow lake".

  • Sossusvlei is part of the Namib-Naukluft Park. It is the largest conservation area and top tourist attraction in the country.

  • The dunes at Sossusvlei are up to 325 metres high.

  • Dune 45 is the most photographed dune in the world.

  • The dunes of the Namib were created by sand being carried on the wind from the coast.

  • Wind in this area blows from all directions creating "star" dunes. This wind pattern also means that the dunes hardly move.

  • The sand dunes are estimated to be around 5 million years old.

  • Iron oxide gives the Namib its distinctive red colour


  • Climb "Big daddy" dune. Walking and climbing are involved.

  • Go on a Hot Air Balloon Safari. The flights are on sunrise followed by a breakfast in the desert.

  • Visit Sesriem Canyon.

  • Quadbike excursions at some lodges.

  • Stargazing available at some lodges.

  • Guided photographic drives.

  • Sleep under the stars.

  • Hiking available at some lodges.

  • Visit Solitaire on your way to Sossusvlei. Famous for their abandoned vintage cars and "Apple Pie".

Image by Eelco Böhtlingk


Sossusvlei is located within the Namib Naukluft Park which means park fees are to be paid before entering the park. The park gate opens at sunrise and closes at sunset. There are a few lodges located in the park which allows you to enter and exit earlier. A number of lodges are situated outside the park within a few minutes from the park gate. This includes exclusive lodges that are on a fully inclusive basis as well as standard lodges and campsites.

See below for accommodation in and around Sossusvlei

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