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Care To Take A Trip To Sossusvlei Sand Dunes In Namibia

Namibia is home to some of the oldest cultures, the world’s biggest rhinos, the most complex languages, the darkest skies, the biggest conservation areas in Africa and the largest sand dunes.

Situated in the largest conservation area in Africa, the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Sossusvlei, a salt and clay pan surrounded by high red dunes, is a perfect example of Namibia’s unspoilt desert beauty. Its large, rust-red sand dunes are famed as some of the tallest sand dunes in the world, making the photogenic area one of Namibia’s most-visited attractions.


The tallest dune is called “Big Daddy”, reaching up to a whopping 325 metres. Known as “star dunes”, the dunes around the Sossusvlei area are dynamic and change with the wind, which shapes them from all directions. The sand here is five million years old and gets its distinctive colour from the thin layer of iron oxide which coats its tiny grains. The iconic landscape also features a deep blue sky over bleached white pans filled with the dark fossils of camelthorn trees.

Sossusvlei Sand Dunes. Photo credit: Art of Safari

The word Sossusvlei is thought to originate from two languages, Nama and Afrikaans. It is called a dead-end marsh because, at Sossusvlei, the dunes meet, preventing the Tsauchab River from flowing any further than the pan.

Climbing the dunes is not for the faint-hearted. Climbers need to start out early just before sunrise to see the dunes in their most picturesque form; the rising sun gives one side a fiery red glow, while the other sits entirely in the shadows.

The climate here is extreme and there is no water, so visitors are advised to bring at least two litres of water, sunscreen, a sunhat, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirt. Also, note that the sun reflects upwards from the sand.

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