Sossussvlei is certainly an interesting place to visit for photography. There’s a small amount of game to be seen around, mostly Gemsbok (Oryx) and Springbok, but the main reason people come here is to marvel at the enormous red dunes that make up this part of the Namib desert. The sand here is a very fine, coppery red and the dunes take on amazing colours throughout the day as the sun passes overhead.
We spent our first two nights in the Sossusvlei Lodge, which is just outside the main gates to the Sossussvlei Nature Reserve. A very nice, place to stay, although it is a pretty large camp. They provide free wifi there, which was the first time we had been connected to the internet properly for a few days, so it gave us a chance to check on emails, post some photos and do other online things.
The best place to be is near the bar where they serve ice cold Tafel or Windhoek Lager.
Next to the bar is a very large open dining area. They have a buffet every night and I can tell you that the Gemsbok steaks they will cook over an open fire for you are amazing. It is the best meat I think I have eaten.
The rooms are found along a maze of interconnected pathways. Each room is a kind of permanent structure, part masonry, part canvas tent. Thankfully they are airconditioned – something you simply cannot be without in Namibia. Even though we were there at the tail end of their winter, daytime temperatures were always above 40C. Hot and extremely dry. Would hate to be there in the summer time.
The way things work at Sossusvlei are exactly the same as how they happen in any national park in Southern Africa. You line up outside the main gates of the reserve before sunrise and as soon as they open the gates you go through the permit checkpoint. At Sossusvlei weirdly you encounter a perfectly tarred road when you pass through the gate – usually it’s the other way around, you use a tarred road to get to the reserve and then you drive on dirt when you’re inside.
The tarred road takes you along for about 60kms, mostly in a straight line. The dunes get closer and closer to the road as you go.
The two main attractions here are to visit the Deadvlei and climb Big Daddy, which is a monstrously large dune along the edge of the Deadvlei. Getting to the Deadvlei isn’t as straight forward as you’d think though. When you get to the end of the tarred road you park and then a 4×4 takes you along very soft sand for a few more clicks before you get out and go the rest of the way on foot. It takes about 40 minutes of brisk hiking up a slight dune to get to get to the Deadvlei. This is what you see once you reach the crest of the dune:
Then you walk down the dune and try and make the place look interesting photographically. This is me, courtesy of repeat Safarian Victor.
We’re offering another opportunity for a few guests (max 5) to experience Namibia just before our featured safari for 2014 to Botswana this year. For full details visit our safari page here.