Sossusvlei is usually taken to mean the red dune area of the Namib-Naukluft National Park which lies in the southern part of the Namib Desert, Namibia. Although there is an actual salt and clay pan called “Sossusvlei”. If you do a search in Google Images on “Namibia”, a lot of the images that are displayed come from three locations in Namibia – Etosha, the Fish River Canyon and Sossusvlei. It is that amazing a place.
I’ve always wanted to go there – and it seems that I lot of other people do too. We had been told that it was advisable to be at the Sesriem gate to Namib-Naukluft National Park when the gate opened in the early morning. First to beat the heat – you don’t want to be walking around on the dunes at midday; and also to beat the crowds. From the Sesriem Gate it is still a 66 kms road until you reach Sossusvlei proper. 60 kms of that is tarmac . The last 6 kms is deep sand and can only be travelled in a 4×4 vehicle.
The name “Sossusvlei” is of mixed origin and roughly means “dead-end marsh”. Vlei is the Afrikaans word for “marsh”, while “sossus” is Nama for “no return” or “dead end”. Sossusvlei owes this name to the fact that it is an endorheic drainage basin (i.e. a drainage basin without outflows) for the ephemeral Tsauchab River. [Wikipedia]
We were particularly keen to see Deadvlei. From the carpark it took about 30 minutes to walk at a leisurely pace through the dunes to Deadvlei.
Deadvlei is another clay pan, about 2 km from Sossusvlei. A notable feature of Deadvlei is that it used to be an oasis with several acacia trees; afterwards, the river that watered the oasis changed its course. The pan is thus punctuated by blackened, dead acacia trees, in vivid contrast to the shiny white of the salty floor of the pan and the intense orange of the dunes. This creates a particularly fascinating and surrealistic landscape, that appears in innumerable pictures and has been used as a setting for films and videos. [Wikipedia]
This is the last post for the October Dash – my daily blog post challenge for October 2016. Thank you to everyone who has been reading and supporting me!
This post is part of a series I will be publishing about our travels through Namibia.