If you’re looking for a holiday destination that will blow your mind and set your Instagram account alight, look no further than Sossusvlei. This iconic salt and clay pan, which literally translates as ‘dead-end marsh’ is one of Namibia’s most treasured and iconic sights. If you’re planning a tailor-made Namibia holiday, you won’t regret paying Sossusvlei a visit.
Sossusvlei is located in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, one of Africa’s largest conservation areas. The area is famed for its burning red dunes, some of which stretch hundreds of metres into the air. The clear blue skies are punctured by scorched rock, making for truly stunning vistas that have to be seen to be believed. The position of the dunes and the conditions of the Namib Desert prevent the waters of the Tsauchab River flowing as far as the salt and clay pan, and this means that the land stays dry throughout the year. It is very rare for the pan to fill, although the torrential downpours in the rainy season have been known to fill it in the past. When the pan floods, huge crowds gather to catch a glimpse of this truly wonderful sight, as the crystal clear water reflects the drama and beauty of the surrounding rock formations. If heavy rains do arrive and the pan fills, it’s possible for water to remain for up to a year.
Exploring the area
It’s possible to devote your entire trip to taking in the views and appreciating the breathtaking scenery, but there are other activities and attractions on offer once you’ve exhausted the photography opportunities and embraced the tranquillity. It’s well worth visiting Dune 45, Sesriem Canyon, Hiddenvlei and Deadvlei. Deadvlei is a mysterious spot scattered with bare tree frames that create a haunting but beautiful scene, which is always a draw for photography enthusiasts. The thin black trunks provide a stark contrast to the white ground of the pan and the rust-coloured dunes. Big Daddy is the standout feature of Sossusvlei. Measuring over 325 metres, this is the tallest dune in the area. If you’re feeling intrepid, you can attempt to scale it for even more fabulous views. Remember to pack comfortable shoes and a water bottle. Although it dwarfs other dunes in Sossusvlei, Big Daddy doesn’t hold the crown for the tallest dune in the Namib Desert, which is claimed by Dune 7.
If you’re visiting Namibia, prepare for sights you never thought were possible. The scenery on display here captures the imagination and feeds the soul. You probably won’t ever come across anything remotely similar again, but your memories will last a lifetime.