Along with Etosha National Park, Deadvlei is one of Namibia’s most popular attractions and for good reason.
The Deadvlei offers astonishing photographic opportunities during a visit to Sossusvlei. The images of stark black acacia trees twisting up into the clear skies of Namibia captured here are famous all over the world.
You’ll find these desolate scenes close to the Sossusvlei salt pan in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, about 65km from the Sesriem Gate.
What’s in a Name?
The Deadvlei is a long-expired marshland. It was once a floodplain supporting an abundance of life during the heydays of the Tsauchab River. At one time, camel thorn trees flourished here, only to be left high and dry when the river dried up.
Thanks to the unusually arid climate of their new surroundings, the trees never decayed. They simply dehydrated, rooted as a melancholy reminder of a once abundant past. Many of the trees are between 900 and 1 000 years old.
Visiting the Deadvlei
You can take a tour of the Deadvlei on guided trips from the Namib Naukluft National Park’s rustic accommodation or from one of the luxury lodges on the perimeter.
Self-drive tours are also an option in Sossusvlei.
During your visit to the area, keep your eyes peeled for signs of the unique desert-adapted fauna and flora which also call this place home.
You may see living examples of camel thorn trees along buried watercourses and hardy, deep-rooted Nara melons flourishing where it seems impossible. If you’re lucky, you could spot a Toktokkie beetle, Namib Dune Ants or a rare Namib Dune Gecko along with ostrich, gemsbok and springbok.
If you arrive early or leave late, you might spot one of the nocturnal species like bat-eared foxes, black-backed jackals and porcupines, on their way to or from slumber.
Birdlife is surprisingly abundant with Monteiro’s Hornbill, Rueppell’s Bustard, Kopje Warbler, Dune Lark, Black-eared Sparrow-Lark, and Karoo Thrush making the list.
Making your way to the Deadvlei
As with all Namibian adventures, it is vital to carry a supply of water and slather yourself in sun protection during your trip to Deadvlei. Whatever you do, make sure your camera is to hand and ready for action.
You can travel to the Sesriem Gate from Windhoek along the B1 and D854 or take the C14 from Swakopmund. There is a tar road leading to all the main sites of Sossusvlei and you will reach the short walking trail to Deadvlei just beyond the Dune 45 Lookout Point.
Don’t miss the chance to visit Deadvlei during your travels to Namibia.