Sossusvlei is the name for the white salt pans that crash into the hot red dunes, creating one of the most popular natural attractions in Namibia. These pans sit in the Namib-Naukluft National Park; the largest conservation area in Africa. You get here by coming through Sesriem – a little town with not much to it apart from a petrol station and a handful of lodges. The town’s used as a base for exploring Sossusvlei and the Namib-Naukluft National Park.
Sossusvlei translates to ‘dead end marsh’. It’s an apt name, as it’s the section of land where the tall dunes come together and stop the Tsauchab River flowing further. You’d never know that Sossusvlei is close to a river or just 60 km from the Atlantic Ocean. The area is so dry and hot, it can sometimes feel like there’s no water around for miles. It’s these dry conditions that help create the large white salt and clay pans that make this area famous.
Most of the time, Sossusvlei is bone-dry, but a fantastic sight to behold. However, during the rainy season, things kick up a notch. The pans form a lake that reflects the intimidating red sand dunes in a shimmering facade. Make sure you visit a few of the nearby attractions during your stay. The Tsauchab River has sculpted the Sesriem Canyon over millions of years, and you can now walk through it and marvel at this natural creation. It can be narrow in places, but is absolutely incredible.
You should also make the trip to Deadvlei. It’s a clay pan similar to Sossusvlei, however it’s far more sinister. Black, dead camel thorn trees stand perfectly still in the white pan floor, offering a fantastic contrast. They’re estimated to be around 900 years old, but they’ve been perfectly preserved by the dry climate. It’s a sight that’s certainly worth a photo or two!
The vast open space also makes Sossusvlei the perfect spot for stargazing. Go to the observatory in the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge to see the stars and constellations in a way you’ve never experienced before. Sossusvlei is so vast you’ll feel like you’re alone.
Plan your trip to Sossusvlei today.