Sossus Vlei, Namibia

Get Lost in some of the world’s largest sand dunes….

If you are looking for unsupervised exploration, energetic hiking, no other person in sight and all for a reasonable price, then this hot dry sand dune environment is the place for you.  Just remember being lost in the dunes in midday is something you will want to avoid.

80Km away from Sossus Vlei, the town of Solitaire boasts a flat nothingness that you would expect of the Namibian desert, Sossus Vlei in contrast gloats the “Big Daddy” dune soring 1066 feet tall and many more towering dunes.  These enormous sand sculptures carve flowing patterns in the landscape, like soft waves, rippling.  There is total silence except the bird of prey screeching high in the sky above and the only mammals in the vicinity are a pair of ostrich running away in the distance.

There are many dunes to explore, Big Daddy, Elim Dune, Hidden Vlei, Dead Vlei and my personal favourite, Dune 45.   There is even the small Sesriem Canyon, where the spotting of small and poisonous snakes are common, hiding behind rocks on the canyon floor.  Dune 45 is much larger than you first believe, until you try to climb it.  One of our group attempted this only to be lying exhausted a third of the way up, I have to admit I didn’t attempt to climb it, but the photo opportunities even from the base were mesmerizing as the sun went down for the day, lighting up the dunes with an unbelievable red glow.  Leave plenty of time if you are planning to climb for sunset or sunrise, don’t forgot how much more tiring it is to climb soft sand compared to a dirt path.

The Sesriem campsite within the park is reasonably priced, plenty of space, privacy with each plot surrounded by a wall and provides a light and electricity point.  If you are planning to do a sunrise hike then you need to camp here, inside the park gates in order to reach dunes before sunrise.  We never got to do the sunrise hike, due to hyenas stealing our shoes that we had left outside the tent the previous evening.  BE WARNED.  Also please follow the directions by the Sesriem campsite reception about where to drive in the campground to get to your plot.  Learning the lesson the hard way, like we did, will mean a good hour of digging your 2×4 vehicle out of the deep sand and leaving you feeling like a tired idiot!

For the most part a 2×4 vehicle is all that you need, however to get to “Dead Vlei” you need a 4×4 or like taking long walks, but you can also leave your 2×4 vehicle and pay for a return lift with the local 4×4 operators that wait in the 2×4 car park all day. The rest of Sossus Vlei is tarmac road and easy to navigate.

Hiring a 2×4 car in Windhoek from Budget will cost around $50 per day, entrance to Sossus Vlei is $8 per person and $1 for a vehicle, camping $15 per person and bring food and cooking apparatus for dinner in the evening.  It’s cheap, easily accessible and a lot of fun to climb and fall down hundreds of mountainous sand dunes.

For information about;

Sossus Vlei:

Sesriem Camping:

Budget Car Hire:  http://