Along with Etosha National Park, the Sossusvlei is one of Namibia’s best-known attractions. The sweeping dunes and stark scenes are a favourite among photographers and adventure enthusiasts alike.
This scenic and geographically fascinating area is part of the Namib Naukluft National Park and located about 5 hours from Windhoek. As such, it is not suitable for a day trip but makes for a wonderful detour in your journey between the capital and Swakopmund, which is 402km further along.
Plan to spend a few days absorbing the beauty of this place and taking part in the activities available here.
Things to do in Sossusvlei
You can explore the Sossusvlei on foot, on a quad bike or in a hot-air balloon from a range of lodges on the perimeter of this incredible destination.
Some of the must-see sights found here include:
- Sesriem Canyon
- Dune 45
- Big Daddy
- Sossusvlei – a large salt and clay pan overlooked by huge red star-shaped dunes
- Petrified Dunes
During your explorations, you may be lucky enough to encounter some of the incredible animals, birds and plants that call the Sossusvlei home.
These living things have adapted to the sparse rainfall and dense coastal fogs in the area. Camel thorn trees and Nara melons reach deep into the earth for moisture, and die-hard welwitschia plants can be seen in the northern areas.
Cartwheeling spiders and toktokkie beetles speed across the landscape to avoid prolonged contact with the scorching earth, the latter standing on their heads to collect drinking water from the fog.
Most of the animals here have become nocturnal to avoid the glare of the day-time sun but you may come across gemsbok, ostrich and springbok. Cape and bat-eared foxes, porcupines and black-backed jackals are a rarity.
Bird lovers will delight in the chance to spot Karoo Thrush, Rueppell’s Bustard, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Black-Eared Sparrow-Lark, Kopje Warblers and Dune Larks.
Making the Most of Your Stay
Early morning and late afternoon are the best times for photographers to make the most of Namibia’s perfect ‘light’. These hours are also the coolest, and more suitable for those heading out on foot to climb the dunes.
During the hottest times of the day, you can lie up at your choice of accommodation. Most offer swimming pools, children’s activities and restaurants.
Notable day trips in the area include a visit to Solitaire to try the world-famous apple pies or a trip to Hotel Helmeringhausen for lunch, curios and a visit to the onsite museum.
Making your Way to Sossusvlei
The Namib Naukluft National Park is accessible by 4×4 vehicle or on guided tours which offer fascinating insights into the history of the area and culture of the local people.
If you choose to self-drive, you can get there from your Windhoek accommodation along the B1 and D854 to Sesriem Gate.
There are also charter flights operating between Eros Airport in Windhoek and the lodges in the area. Should you choose this route, you can get around with the guided tours offered onsite.