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Sossusvlei

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... is located in the Southwest Namibia.

This area is home to the enormous red sand-dunes for which Namibia is so renowned. The 100km between here and the coast is occupied by the enormous orange dunefield of the Namib Desert and contains the largest sand ridges in the world.

The Tsauchab River, which flows out towards the coast, once held back these massive dunes, its ephemeral flow being sufficient to wash the advancing sands out into the Atlantic. But at some time over the last thousand years the river failed to flow for too many years and the sand manage to advance to permanently block its path. These days the river valley only penetrates about half way to the coast, cutting a swathe through massive truncated dunes and terminating in a flood pan known as Sossusvlei. This pan still floods every few years to create a remarkable tree-lined oasis the middle of the sands.

A little further into the desert, over the next dune ridge, lies the even more remarkable Deadvlei, a circular pan of cracked white earth inhabited by the ghostly remains of long dead camelthorn trees. The intermittent flow to this pan was cut off decades or even centuries ago, leaving behind this remarkable scene.

This incredible landscape can easily be visited by vehicle, there is a sealed road leading into the valley from the park entrance at Sesriem and only the last few kilometres is on sand. The priority, especially for photographers, is usually to get into these dunes for first or last light, when the sand really comes to life.

Other activities in the area include some excellent opportunities for ballooning, quad-biking and horse-riding.

The overwhelming downside here at Sossusvlei is traffic. Naturally just about everyone who visits the country wants to include this place in their trip and almost everyone wants to see the dunes at sunrise.


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