Travel Guide

Go to the Sossusvlei Dunes in Namibia – Full Information

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Sossusvlei positioned in Namibia’s Namib-Naukluft Nationwide Park is among the most spectacular and best-known sights in Southern Africa. An absolute dream to go to with a digicam, the unbelievable surroundings makes anybody seem like an expert photographer! The massive purple sand dunes within the park has at all times been excessive on my world journey bucket record and the unreal panorama didn’t disappoint! Sossusvlei is a big, white salt and clay pan surrounded by large purple sand dunes, positioned within the Namib Desert. The title Sossusvlei is usually used to seek advice from a big space within the park together with well-known websites corresponding to Dune 45, Deadvlei, Huge Dadddy and Sesriem canyon, this is among the main customer sights of Namibia.

deadvlei, sossusvlei namibia
Waking over the claypan, The Deadvlei, crammed with lifeless timber is the spotlight of visiting Sossusvlei.

The title “Sossusvlei” roughly interprets into “dead-end marsh. A vlei is a marsh in Afrikaans. That is the place the place sand dunes come collectively and forestall the Tsauchab River to movement any additional, within the dry Namib Desert the River nonetheless seldom flows this far leading to a dry pan most years.  Though the world is known as Sossusvlei, the Deadvlei might be the primary attraction to go to within the park. Sossusvlei is unquestionably probably the greatest locations to go to in Namibia.

Documentaries, photographs and magazines at all times left me with the concept most of Namibia is a desert, coated in these majestic dunes. On our honeymoon we explored Namibia driving and tenting for greater than two months. Driving hundreds of kilometers we had been questioning the place are the sand dunes? We lastly discovered these spectacular landscapes at Sossusvlei. See our Full Namibia Street Journey Itinerary for loads of tips about planning a visit to Namibia.

Visiting Sossusvlei

Sesriem is a small settlement near the southern finish of the Naukluft Mountains within the Namib Desert. To go to Sossusvlei, Dune 45, the Deadvlei and the opposite Namib sights you need to enter the Namib-Naukluft Nationwide Park on the Sesriem gate and drive about 60 kilometers.

Dune 45 Sossusvlei Namibia
The spectacular Dune 45, Sossusvlei Namibia

Attending to Sesriem

Driving to Sesriem the roads in Namibia are unpaved, gravel roads. You do not want a 4×Four car, however a automobile with good floor clearance helps and I’ll suggest to not drive quick on these gravel roads. Flat tyres are quite common and under-car insurance coverage for leases is value wanting into. Most individuals journey to Sesriem from Windhoek, or Swakopmund, each these journeys take round 5 hours, there are a number of completely different route choices to drive.

Excursions to Sesriem and exploring Sossusvlei can be found from Windhoek and Swakopmund. You too can be part of an overland truck on a Namibian expedition from Cape City or as a part of a overand tour exploring extra of Africa!

Car required to Go to Sossusvlei

From Sesriem gate there’s a good tar highway for about 60 km into the park that may be pushed with any car. After 60 km you’ll attain a parking space for Sossusvlei, solely 4×Four automobiles can proceed from right here to the Lifeless vlei parking space on a sandy monitor for about 5 km. In the event you wouldn’t have a 4×Four car, you possibly can park right here and proceed by shuttle run by Namibia Wildlife Resorts for $NAM 150 ($11) return. We explored Namibia in our little Terios 4×Four car and had been tremendous within the sand. Many individuals renting automobiles are usually not skilled driving in sand and get caught right here. Keep in mind to deflate your tires to about 1.5 bar and attempt to drive with out stopping in 4×4/low vary in the identical gear.

vehicle namibia road trip
Our little 4×Four Terios carried out nicely, powering by means of the sand at Sossusvlei.

Sesriem Gate Entrance and Charges

The Sesriem gate to enter the Nationwide Park and the campsite opens at dawn and closes at sundown. The Sesriem campsite  has its personal entrance to the park which opens one hour earlier than the primary gate. Guests staying contained in the park can thus drive earlier than dawn to the dunes. The drive to Dune 45 is 45 km on highway from the doorway. The one approach to see dawn from the dunes is thus to remain contained in the park. We stayed exterior the park, we had been on the gate greater than an hour earlier than opening and had been the primary automobile by means of the gate. They opened the gate at nightfall so we arrived at Dune 45 throughout dawn as you possibly can see on our dawn pics. For the perfect dawn and sundown photos it’s value staying contained in the park.

To enter the Namib-Naukluft Nationwide Park at Sesriem prices 100 NAD ($6) per individual for non residents and 50 NAD for SADC residents plus 10 NAD per car (June 2021). The doorway charge is legitimate for 24 hours, so it’s attainable to enter the afternoon, see sundown and return the following morning for dawn. Sundown and dawn are the perfect instances to go to the dunes.

What time does the Sesriem Gate open?

The gate opens at dawn, so time will rely upon what time of the 12 months you go to Sossusvlei. The opening and shutting time adjustments each month and stays the identical for the entire month. The opening time is shifted in 30 min intervals (e.g. 06:00, 06:30, 07:00, and so on). In the event you ask on the camp the place you’re staying they are going to be capable to let you know the instances throughout your keep.

Sossusvlei Excursions

The simplest, stress free approach to go to Sossusvlei is with a tour, they’re out there from Windhoek and Swakopmund. You too can be part of an overland truck on a Namibian expedition from Cape City or as a part of a overand tour exploring extra of Africa!

  • Two day guided tour from Swakopmund, one night time tenting within the Namib Desert. Get picked up out of your resort, discover Sossusvlei – Huge Mama Dune, Dune 45, Sesriem Canyon and Deadvlei.
  • Two day guided tour from Windhoek, consists of 2 nights lodging, meals, resort pickup drop off.
  • Discover Southern Africa with G-Adventures for 12 days in a small safari car from Cape City by means of wonderful websites just like the Cederberge, Orange river, Swakopmund, Spitzkoppe, the Namib desert, Etosha, Sossusvlei and extra.
  • 40 Day Africa Overland Nairobi to Cape City, principally tenting, superior journey going by means of Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. Experience some bucket record African adventures.

Sossusvlei Dunes

The Sossusvlei space within the southern Namib is understood for its excessive sand dunes of vivid pink-to-orange coloration, the oldest dunes are these of a extra deep reddish coloration. The dunes within the space are among the many highest on the planet; some greater than 200 meters. The extra steady dunes are partially coated with some vegetation. Hold an eye fixed out within the park for animals corresponding to fog beetles, small reptiles, rodents, jackals, birds, oryxes, springboks and ostriches. Lots of the dunes are named the gap they’re from the doorway, corresponding to Dune 1 that’s 1 km from the gate and Dune 45, 45 km from the gate.

walking over the dunes at Sossusvlei
Mountain climbing over the spectacular dunes of Sossusvlei in Namibia.

Elim Dune

Elim Dune is the closest dune to go to to Sesriem campsite. It’s a comparatively remoted, excessive sand dune positioned 5 km previous the Sesriem gate, on a department of the primary highway to Sossusvlei. The dune is called after a farm that was once within the space earlier than the Nationwide Park was established. Elim is 100m excessive so about 30% the peak of Huge Daddy. It’s a nice dune to cease for morning pictures since you’re going to get right here early for good gentle and with most individuals driving on to Dune 45 there shouldn’t be crowds. Being near the campsite whenever you arrive it’s perfect for sundown, you possibly can even stroll right here.

Dune 45

Dune 45 is on of probably the most photographed dunes on the planet and a spotlight to go to within the Sossusvlei space of the Namib Desert. Images of this spectacular purple dune with its curvy shadows draw many vacationers from all around the world to Namibia. It’s a difficult climb for a lot of, standing over 170 m tall and takes about 40 minutes to climb and 5 minutes to run down. The purple coloration is attributed to iron oxide washed from the Kalahari into the Atlantic Ocean and carried to Sossusvlei by a mix of ocean currents and wind. Most individuals drive right here as quickly as they enter the park to attempt to take dawn photographs. Dune 45 is good to climb for sundown and later within the day is an efficient time to take photos of this dune with its well-known shadow. Since Dune 45 is positioned proper subsequent to the highway it is vitally accessible for taking photographs. We entered the park at Nightfall and drove straight to Dune 45 on the 45 km tar highway, we ran up the dune and nonetheless had a fantastic experience whereas the solar was rising.

sunrise dune 45 sossusvlei namibia
We made it simply in time to catch a few of dawn from Dune 45, 45 km from Sesriem campsite.

Huge Daddy dune

That is the very best dune within the park about 325m excessive, it was a few 15 minute stroll to the bottom of the Huge Daddy dune from the automobile to begin climbing. We had been right here in December and climbed Dune 45 first for the dawn earlier than shifting on to Huge Daddy. It was a extremely popular day, so take sufficient water. Climbing Huge Daddy to the highest took about 30 minutes offering some good views, to be rewarded with the spectacular panoramic views of the Deadvlei and the Namib observe the slim ridge on prime of this large dune. We ran down in minutes to the wonderful Deadvlei a extremely enjoyable experience. To stroll from the automobile, climb Huge Daddy and return by means of the Deadvlei to our automobile took greater than 90 minutes, we spent a while having fun with the unreal environment and taking a number of photographs of this wonderful website within the Namib desert.

At 325 metres excessive, Huge Daddy is the very best dune in Sossusvlei, however not the very best within the Namib, the very best dune within the Namib desert is Dune 7 exterior Swakopmund at about 388 metres excessive.

walking on Bid Daddy dune sossusvlei namibia
Strolling on the slim ridge on prime of Huge Daddy overlooking Deadvlei was one of many highlights of visiting Sossusvlei.

Attending to Huge Daddy and the Deadvlei

Entry to Sossusvlei, Huge Daddy Dune and the Deadvlei is from Deadvlei parking space.

The drive from Sesriem park entrance to the two×Four Sossusvlei parking is 60 km and takes 1 hour. The highway from Sossusvlei parking to Deadvlei parking is Four km and might solely pushed with a 4×Four car. In the event you don’t have a 4×Four or don’t need to danger getting caught within the sand, park your automobile and take the safari shuttle service offered shuttle run by Namibia Wildlife Resorts for $NAM 150 ($11) return. It’s only Four km so it’s attainable to stroll, however within the warmth and the sand enable 1h 30 min for the stroll, keep in mind you have to nonetheless get again after climbing Huge Daddy! carry a number of water. Hitchhiking the final Four km isn’t a fantastic choice since no person needs to cease within the sand and danger getting caught, in case you do that stand and hitch on the Sossusvlei parking space that you may nonetheless take a shuttle if you don’t get a trip.


You wouldn’t have to climb Huge Daddy to get to the Deadvlei, there’s a pathway to the aspect of the dune. After coming down Huge Daddy we walked again to our automobile this fashion. It’s about 1 km from Deadvlei to the parking space strolling on the pathway subsequent to the dune. There aren’t any ‘amenities’ at Deadvlei parking space, so take sufficient water and snacks. There are timber offering some shade however bathroom amenities listed below are very fundamental.

Deadvlei (Afrikaans for ‘lifeless marsh’) is a big clay pan characterised by darkish, lifeless camel thorn timber contrasted towards the white pan ground, surrounded by the large rusty purple dunes. The pan was fashioned when the Tsauchab River flooded and ample water allowed camel thorn timber to develop. The local weather modified, sand dunes fashioned blocking the river from reaching the world.

deadvlei at sossusvlei namibia
Strolling by means of the spectacular Deadvlei after coming down from Huge Daddy dune heading again to Sossusvlei 4×Four parking space.

The Deadvlei is a superb place for taking photographs. The distinction between the black timber, white pans,  rusty-red dunes and deep blue sky make for unbelievable photos.


Sossusvlei, just like the Deadvlei, is a big clay mattress, it’s surrounded by comparatively small sand dunes. Sossusvlei is positioned near the Deadvlei solely separated by a slim sand ridge and can be reached by strolling from the Sossusvlei parking space. Throughout a really wet season the Tsauchab fills the pan at Sossusvlei, drawing guests from all around the world to witness the glassy “lake” holding reflections of the encompassing dunes.  On the uncommon occurrences when the pan fills it might maintain water for so long as a 12 months. Sossusvlei solely fill with water each 5 to 10 years.


Entry to the Hiddenvlei is from the two×Four Sossusvlei parking space (60 km from the Sesriem campsite), the hike to Hiddenvlei is a Four km roundtrip stroll from the parking space. There are some indicators, however it isn’t very nicely marked, simply look out for footprints of earlier guests and carry sufficient water. We had your entire hike to ourselves, even late morning. The clay pan amongst the sand dunes is gorgeous, with some timber scattered throughout the spectacular panorama. The return hike to HIddenvlei takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The Hiddenvlei sossusvlei
We cherished strolling by means of the Hiddenvlei, not many individuals stroll right here so it’s lifeless fairly, superior experience.

Sesriem Canyon

Sesriem canyon is positioned about 4.5km from the park entrance. The canyon is  not very large, however is gorgeous. Search for the signal contained in the Sesriem campsite. The Tsauchab River has formed the Canyon over thousands and thousands of years and it is among the few locations within the space that holds water all 12 months spherical. It’s a few kilometre (0.6 mile) lengthy and as much as 30 meters (100 toes) deep. The title sesriem (Afrikaans for six belts) got by Afrikaans settlers who needed to connect collectively six oryx conceal belts  with the intention to attain buckets down into the canyon to scoop up water. The Sesriem Canyon may be very slim, solely two metres (6.5 toes) extensive in some locations, and has a portion that completely incorporates water, which many animals use.

Sossusvlei Dune 45
Campbell sitting on the sting of Sesriem Canyon, Sossusvlei.

Lodging at Sossusvlei

There are a lot of lodging choices, starting from fundamental tenting to luxurious lodges round Sossusvlei. Choices to remain contained in the park are nonetheless restricted. The easy Sesriem campsite is the one price range choice and for an expensive keep, e book the in style Sossus Dune Lodge or the pretty new Lifeless Valley Lodge, each Nambia Wildlife Resort (NWR) amenities.

Sesriem Campsite

The campsite is positioned contained in the Namib-Naukluft Nationwide Park proper subsequent to the Sossus vlei entrance with a central swimming pool, fundamental store for provides and a bar. There’s not a number of shade, however shade some shade is obtainable by camel thorn timber. The Sesriem Relaxation Camp has no rooms out there, solely tenting, you have to convey all your personal tenting and cooking gear. At Sesriem the campsites have their very own barbeque space and electrical factors, so you possibly can braai at your tent. There’s a number of house and campsites are far aside. The Sesriem campsite provides shared ablutions.

Sesriem Campsite value – At NAD 490 ($35) per individual this campsite isn’t low-cost for what is obtainable, however that is the price range choice if you wish to see dawn from the dunes. We camped for two months across the nation, see all our favourite campsites in Namibia.

Sesriem has 44 camp websites out there. Because of its location contained in the park this campsite may be very in style, particularly through the excessive season, and in season guests ought to make reservations prematurely with Namibia Wildlife Resorts to keep away from dissapointment. For room lodging contained in the park at Sesriem take a look at Sossus Dune Lodge or Lifeless Valley Lodge.

fun at dune45 sossusvlei
Alya having some enjoyable on prime of Dune 45 heading to Sossusvlei.

Sossus Dune Lodge

Sossus Dune Lodge at Sossusvlei provides prime quality, luxurious lodging at Sesriem Namibia contained in the Namib-Naukluft Nationwide Park. Much like Sesriem campsite staying right here permits early entry to the park to achieve the dunes for dawn and sundown. With restricted lodging out there within the park it is a very talked-about lodge and it it really helpful that you just make reservations prematurely. The chalets are inbuilt an ‘afro-village’ model impressed by an African village, utilizing wood frames, canvas partitions and topped by a thatched roof. The entire lodge is constructed on a raised platform for minimal affect on the fragile atmosphere. The Lodge has 25 particular person rondavel-style chalets. The chalets and amenities at Sossus Dune Lodge are all related by a raised wood walkway, this may take you out of your chalet to the central space, restaurant, lounge, bar, swimming pool and sundown deck for wonderful desert views. The lodge provides guided dawn/sundown drives journeys to Sesriem Canyon and Elim Dune for company.

Costs of Sossus Dune Lodge – NAD 2800 – 5586.00 ($205-410).

Lifeless Valley Lodge

The Lifeless Valley lodge is a brand new luxurious lodge positioned contained in the Namib-Naukluft Nationwide Park opened in 2019. Lodging at Lifeless Valley Lodge is offered in luxurious tented chalets on a full board foundation, so all three meals are included within the room value. The attractive lodge is positioned in-between Seriem and Elim Dune on the D826 highway resulting in Sossusvlei. The lodge provide twenty free standing chalets every with a panoramic view of the of the Namib Desert. The tented chalets at Lifeless Valley Lodge price between NAD 3650 – 4650 ($270-340). Ebook The Lifeless Valley Lodge

Lodging exterior the park

  • Luxurious – Sossusvlei Lodge a Four star luxurious lodge positioned proper exterior the nationwide park gate
  • Mid Vary – Tsauchab River Camp, nicely rated chalets about 50 km from Sesriem park gate.
  • Price range – Sossus Oasis Campsite, very nicely rated camp website with swimming pool, $ 37 per website (2 individuals)

When to go to Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei will be visited all 12 months lengthy. It’s good to enter the park and go to the dunes within the morning when it’s cool and the sand isn’t scorching but. The sunshine can be nice for taking photographs with wonderful shadows. Attempt to keep away from the warmth of the afternoon. From Could to October, it’s winter in Namibia and temperatures are barely decrease which makes it extra bearable.

Suggestions for Visiting Sossus vlei

  • The very best time for taking photographs is with dawn or sundown when the shadows make the dunes spectacular. Don’t miss the wonderful purple dunes at dawn!
  • Take sufficient water with you, it’s scorching, you may stroll far and there’s no water on the market on the Deadvlei.
  • Experience dawn and sundown with out breaking apart your tent early within the morning, solely paying for one night time and day within the park. Right here is how: pay for one night time’s tenting and in the future (24 hours) within the park. Enter the park early (about lunch time), pay entrance+tenting, discover sesriem canyon, the dunes, see Dune 45 at sundown, subsequent morning stand up early see the dawn from Dune 45. Go and break up your tent and depart the park in 24 hours.
  • If you wish to be autonomous, with smaller crowds go together with a 4WD car.
  • Drop your tyre strain to 1.5 bar for driving over sand. There’s a petrol station simply exterior the primary entrance gate at Sesriem the place you possibly can inflate your tyres once more.
  • The 2WD automobile park has clear bogs, the 4WD automobile park at Sossusvlei has pit bogs.
  • Take a hat, sunscreen and a digicam.

Touring in Namibia

Renting a four wheel drive car and doing a highway journey from Cape City to Namibia is an especially in style self drive African journey. This manner you might have a number of freedom and plan your journey the way in which you need to do it. Paddle on the Orange River within the South, plan forward and hike the unbelievable Fish River Canyon, one of many prime hikes in Africa or journey all the way in which to the north of Namibia. Utterly completely different from the Namib desert and the shoreline at Luderitz, Walvisbay and Swakopmund, the world by means of Caprivi Strip to Victoria Falls is dwelling to the Huge 5 African animals, seeing elephants subsequent to the highway and hippos out of your tent within the morning was a very completely different type of journey. The legendary Chobe Nationwide Park in Botswana is only a fast drive over the border. We even had an incredible experience visiting a village of the indigenous Himba folks that we stumbled upon, driving by means of Namibia.

We’d love to listen to from you, so don’t be shy to remark give recommendations or ask questions!



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Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

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