In the middle of the Namib Desert, in the Namib Naukluft Park two of Namibia’s scenic highlights can be found: the Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei. Firstly about the Namib Naukluft Park: This conservation area within the oldest desert worldwide, the Namib, is situated along the Atlantic coast, covers an area of nearly 50,000 km² and is the largest protected area in the country.
The park was formed by merging several regions (Namib, Naukluft, Sossusvlei/Sesriem, and Sandwich Harbour). The present size of the park has been proclaimed in 1979. Only a small part of the park is accessible for visitors: the Naukluft Mountains, the Sossusvlei as well as some parts of the Kuiseb River. The huge protected area is about 500 km long and between 100 and 150 km wide.
Close to the Sossusvlei lies the just as impressive Dead Vlei. This Vlei has long been cut off from the Tsauchab River by a large sand dune. The result: a large amount of dead camelthorn trees, which have been conserved by the extremely dry climate which prohibits the trees to decay.
At the edge of the Dead Vlei one can climb the „Big Daddy“ also called the „Crazy Dune“ which is assumed to be the highest sand dune worldwide. It is advisable to arrive in early morning hours when attempting to climb the dune as it takes 1.5 to 2 hours and is extremely strenuous. The effort is rewarded with one of the most incredible views! Running down is fun and fast!
The former adventurous road to Sossusvlei has been tarred in 2006. After 45 kilometres the well-known Dune 45 is reached, which stands out due to its height and is a popular photo motif. The best time to take pictures is during the early morning hours and in the late afternoon when the low standing sun crates a contrasting play of shadows.
Five kilometres before reaching the Sossusvlei the tarred road ends. Guests driving a 4×4 and having experience with driving in thick sand can continue to the Vlei. All others have to walk or have to make use of the shuttle service. Visitors have to leave the park before sunset and are registered when entering the park. The Sossusvlei experience can be read about in many travel reports, but you have to experience it first handed to understand the beauty of the place.