Sossusvlei is one of Namibia's most popular attractions and is situated in the heart of the mighty Namib Desert. Situated within the boundaries of the Namib Naukluft Park it is a beautiful sight and a must for anyone travelling in Namibia. This huge clay pan is enclosed by giant sand dunes, some of them rising 300 meters into the blue sky, the highest sand dunes in the world.
SOSSUSVLEI - NAMIB NAUKLUFT
Some useful 4x4 Tips
Make sure that all your wheels are engaged and reduce your tyre pressure to around 50%. Be sure to select the right gear for the trail conditions. The sand at the Sossusvlei trail is usually very loose and the sand is soft and aerated so be very careful not to get stuck, make sure you keep moving. You will need loads of torque so you must select 4x4 low range in a suitable gear application. Second or third depending on your engine's power.
Maintain your power and a steady speed through deep sand try not to change gears and keep moving to maintain your momentum. If you get stuck, spin your wheels as little as possible to prevent digging yourself deeper. Do not try walking in or out of the area as the temperatures regularly reach in excess of 40ºc and the sand can heat up to over 70ºc.
Some animals found in this area
The harsh environmental conditions have led to the evolution of numerous plant and animal species that are specially adapted to survive in the desert. In some parts of the Namib Desert, the regular fog flowing in from the Atlantic Ocean condenses to sustain plants and provide sufficient drinking water for some animal life which is sparse but plentiful. Because of the heat most of the animals operate by night and sleep or burrow during the day. Keep your eyes peeled because nature is full of surprises.
Some bird species found in the area
There are well over 60 bird species that have been recorded in the Sossusvlei area. Many of the birds are common to Namiba but there are a few species common to this area only, this area being the Namib Desert as well. I've listed some species below which are found around Sossusvlei.
By - Francesco Villa
Sesriem Canyon Dry
By - Christiaan Poort
What a little wind can do
By - aldenc
By - Dr. Thomas Wagner
Dead Vlei Mirage
By - John Macdonald
The dunes of the Namib Desert have developed over a period of millions of years and it is thought that vast quantities of sand were deposited into the Atlantic Ocean by the mighty Orange River. The sand was then moved toward the North by the Benguela current only to be dumped back onto the land by the strong currents and surf thus creating the coastal dunes. These dunes were then shifted further and further inland by the strong prevailing winds. These dunes are continuously changing shape but will always be beautiful, no matter how high or low.
After the rains in the Naukluft Mountains the water flows into the Tsauchab River. This gushing flow of water can be super strong and has been known to wash away roads and camp sites. Always be careful if you are camping in Namibia during the rainy season because flash-floods have been known to wreak havoc especially if you happen to be camping peacefully in a dry river bed.
The word 'Sossus' originated from the Bushman and the Nama’s and is thought to mean 'A gathering place of water'. The word vlei is an Afrikaans word and it means a shallow lake, or body of water. During the, not very often, high rainfall seasons Sossusvlei may fill with water creating a beautiful sight visited my many people from all over the world. The 'vlei' is circular depression that fills up with water and is almost entirely surrounded by massive sand dunes which stretch all the way to the coast.
By - Ute Bibow
By - Francesco Villa
By - John Macdonald
See the Sossusvlei area with Google Maps
Easy to navigate just read the instructions on the left.
Eish SA would like to thank the above mentioned organisations for their information supplied to create the "Amazing Places" pages.