Sossusvlei is, without the need of a shadow of a doubt, the most renowned and effectively recognized sight in all of Namibia.
Positioned in the heart of the Namib desert, Sossusvlei is basically an massive salt and clay pan which is surrounded by some of the highest sand dunes in the complete globe – some of these dunes are much more than 300m tall!
The name ‘Sossusvlei’ is colloquially made use of to describe this smaller pocket of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, which contains quite a few other renowned sand dunes and the fossilised trees of Deadvlei.
We essentially drove a tiny bit farther than Sossusvlei the evening just before our go to in order to get to our accommodation. Although our accommodation was beautiful, for this sort of go to, it wasn’t excellent.
Essentially, there are two sets of gates that you will need to have to pass by means of in order to get to the dunes, the outer and inner gates. The inner gates open to guests a great deal earlier (and remain open a great deal later) and hence enable you to discover the dunes with much less people today about, but in order to make the most of this, you need to have to be staying at a single of the accommodations essentially inside the National Park (Sesriem Campsite is the way to go if you are on a price range) – which is a great deal simpler stated than accomplished.
I began preparing our trip to Namibia in February, pretty much nine months just before we have been due to go to in September, and actually all the things was booked! All the campsites had lengthy considering the fact that been booked up, as had all the blow out luxury accommodation.
In truth, I was fortunate to uncover availability anyplace! Most locations seemed to be pretty much absolutely booked up, so I ended up taking the only vacancy I could uncover – the Namib Desert Lodge.
This lodge ended up becoming far much more beautiful than I ever could have imagined, but it is positioned a fantastic hours drive away from Sossusvlei, and it meant that we had to enter the park at the normal opening instances like absolutely everyone else. Granted, this is not the finish of the globe, but it absolutely would have been beautiful to see Sossusvlei at sunrise or sunset.
Travel Tip: Strategy as far in advance as you possibly can and you may just snag some accommodation inside the park!
The outer gates open at dawn, which meant that you need to have to get up seriously early. This is really tough to do when camping as it gets freezing cold overnight, but the lure of the dunes managed to get us up and about (somewhat) on time.
Driving from the Namib Desert Lodge to the outer gates took about 45 minutes, which was a great deal longer than Google had anticipated – largely in portion due to the rather hazardous driving circumstances.
It must be been apparent, but we somehow failed to foresee that driving on unsealed roads just before dawn could be a tiny bit hazardous, in particular when there are really a couple of much more autos on the road than you generally encounter in Namibia. We spent the complete drive behind other autos which meant that we couldn’t see a great deal much more than seemingly endless dust clouds! It meant that Dan couldn’t precisely drive at the speed we would typically do, and it absolutely took us a tiny longer than we had hoped.
We arrived to the gate fairly a great deal suitable as it opened, but there was a smaller line up of vehicles ahead of us. Even so, it didn’t take lengthy to get by means of!
It is worth noting that you need to spend for a permit when you enter this gate. All the data I study stated that this need to be paid upon entry, but in our encounter we have been turned away from the permit workplace and told rather to basically spend just before we exited.
The price for entrance is really cost-effective. We paid $80 Namibian Dollars per individual and $10 for our vehicle – which totaled about $17 AUD for two people today with a vehicle.
From the permit workplace, it is about 60km to the gateway to the dunes. If you have a 4wd, at is at this final gateway point that you must lower your tyre stress to about 150-160kpa, but it is worth noting that even if you have an sufficient car, you must nonetheless only proceed onto the sand if you are seasoned and competent with a 4wd car. As soon as you get started driving, the most crucial factor is that you basically mustn’t cease! Engage low gear and no matter what, just hold on driving!
If you do not have a 4×4 or if you do not really feel protected to traverse the hazardous road to Sossusvlei, then you can access a single of the a lot of shuttles that wait at this point to bring people today to and from the dunes for $150 NAD ($15 AUD) return.
At some point, we created it to Sossusvlei! We saw so a lot of much more people today at these dunes than at any other tourist attraction in all of Namibia (I genuinely was left questioning how we hadn’t observed any of these people today) but the dunes are so superb that they make braving the crowds effectively worth it.
It took us about 10 minutes to stroll from our vehicle to the access point (most of which I did in bare feet) and we have been really swiftly met with the otherworldly and awesome views of Sossusvlei and Deadvlei.
The trees of Deadvlei are a spectacular contrast to the white clay pans beneath and the burnt orange sand behind, and it is not tough to see why Deadvlei is of especially higher interest to photographers and travellers from all more than the globe. These trees are believed to be anyplace from 500-700 years old but due to the fact of drought they have lengthy considering the fact that died. Ordinarily, when a tree dies it would decompose and return to the earth, but these trees have been unable to do this due to their place in such a tremendously inhospitable atmosphere. Quite a few of the trees are coloured black, not due to the fact this is their all-natural colour, but due to the fact they have actually been burnt and charred by the sun.
I could have spent hours walking about Deadvlei, but sadly, you sort of have a time limit when going to these dunes. We arrived really early in the morning, not so a great deal to see the sunrise, but purely to keep away from becoming in the sun through the hottest time of the day, which at Sossusvlei, is pretty much all day lengthy.
So, we decided to get started heading up the most highest and renowned sand dune – Significant Daddy – just before the heat became as well a great deal. In hindsight, it would have created much more sense to do this just before exploring Deadvlei, and for any person going to this area, I’d extremely advise going up initially to minimise your exhaustion.
We ended up operating a tiny bit out of time. We created it about three/four of the way up and then the sand began having genuinely hot, genuinely swift! Now, I will be the initially to admit that I was not precisely dressed appropriately for trekking up and down sand dunes. Donning a maxi dress and my Birkenstocks wasn’t precisely excellent, but immediately after wearing nothing at all but pants and plain t-shirts I basically wanted to put on a fairly dress! Now, the problem did not finish up becoming with my dress, but with my footwear. Although I will go to my grave proclaiming my like of Birkenstocks, I will admit that closed toed footwear are a great deal much more suitable in this sort of atmosphere.
Moreover, I absolutely underestimated just how swiftly the sun would warm up the sand, and honestly, the truth that I didn’t finish up with actual burns on my feet is a smaller miracle!
So no, we didn’t attain the tippy top rated of Significant Daddy, but we nonetheless did get to appreciate the undeniable magic of Sossusvlei, and even got a couple of killer shots in the procedure!
Sossusvlei was all the things I’d hoped for, and so a great deal much more. Typically I hate the crowds and busy-ness of common tourist attractions, but Sossusvlei is so particular that they do not matter in the slightest.
Finding to Sossusvlei: Driving from Namib Desert Lodge requires close to two hours, if you can book early and nab accommodation inside the gates of the park – do it!
Namib Desert Lodge: This lodge is reasonably priced and a superb location to chill out immediately after a tiring morning in the sun, its only drawback is its distance from Sossusvlei. Click right here to discover much more!
4×4 Automobile Employ: Totally equipped 4×4 autos are out there to rent from a lot of corporations in RSA and Namibia – we rented a Toyota Hilux from South Africa 4×4 for about $155 AUD per day, which is really prevalent pricing through peak season
Camera: Pictures captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/two.8 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/two.eight lenses
Don’t forget: Drive safely and very carefully when heading to Sossusvlei! Do not let your want to beat the crowds (and heat) bring about you to take dangers on the road
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