There’s no question that the immense, rich-ochre sand dunes at Sossusvlei are one of the most astonishing sights in the world. Their curving slopes rise to a remarkable 300m and they just beg to be climbed barefoot.
Geologists say that this supreme desert covering most of the Namib-Naukluft Park is the oldest in the world – and the older the dune, the brighter the colour from slow iron oxidisation and a zillion minute fragments of garnet.
Included in just about every one of our Namibia Tours and Safaris, these magnificent dunes are equally accessible to those on a Namibia Self-drive holiday – and there is plenty of excellent accommodation in and around the area.
Permits are necessary to enter the park – open from sun-up to sundown – and your vehicle is registered in and out. Entering the park after sunset is not allowed by the park officials, probably because they would have to come and search for you if you did not re-appear. Getting lost in the Namib Desert is no joke however, so stick to the tracks and never go walking aimlessly.
Not far from the entry gate to the park you will see Dune 45, a much-photographed and often-climbed dune. Kick off your shoes, feel the sand between your toes, huff and puff your way to the top and descend by heading down the steepest part, allowing the deep sliding sand to slow your pace.
About a kilometre away from Sossusvlei is Dead Vlei, a salt-encrusted dry lake that’s worth the stroll – in fact, some people rate it more beautifully haunting than Sossusvlei, but you can make your own mind up.