Welcome to Sossusvlei Namib Desert and Namib Naukluft Namibia Wildlife Resorts and National Parks guide to accommodation and places to stay in Sossusvlei Namib Desert and Namib Naukluft Namibia.
The Namib Desert in Namibia forms part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. The Namib Desert - Sesriem and Sossusvlei The Namib Desert - one of Namibia's amazing highlights, a beautiful, vast, symmetry of natural beauty like no other place on earth. Covering an area of 80 900 km² (31 200 square miles), stretching about 1000 miles (1,600 km) along the Atlantic Ocean coast of Namibia but how do you experience this vast wild beauty? read here for more information

NWR places to stay Sossusvlei, Sesriem and Namib Naukluft
Namibia Wildlife Resorts Namib Naukluft National Park

A note on where to stay in the Namib Naukluft

The Namib Naukluft Park is split into 2 sections. Naukluft Campsite is situated some distance from the dunes at Sossusvlei. For the dunes at Sossuvlei you should stay at one of the Sesriem campsites above.


 

How to explore the Namib Desert and see the sand dunes, where is Sossusvlei, Sesriem, Deadvlei and other attractions of the desert in Namibia?

Lets start with where the Namib Desert is located in Namibia, it is in the southwest corner of the country stretching up from Luderitz area the way up to Walvis Bay and Swakopmund a distance of over 1600 km of rolling sanddunes.

Accommodation Room Type 1 at Namib Dune Star Camp Sossusvlei Namibia

Now a closer look at where the main attractions are in the Namib Desert, Sesriem, Sossusvlei, Deadvlei, Dune 45, Elim Dune, Sunset Dune and Sesriem Canyon

Accommodation Room Type 1 at Namib Dune Star Camp Sossusvlei Namibia

Sesriem - The entrance into the Namib Desert and the Namib Naukluft National Park, here you will find the Parks office where you get your permit for entering the Desert and visiting Sesriem Canyon. This is the only entry point to go and visit Sossusvlei, Dune 45, Elim Dune, Deadvlei and Sesriem Canyon.
This is also the access point to the four places to stay inside the Namib Desert National Park, Sesriem Camping, Sossus Dune Lodge, Sesriem Oshana Campsite and Dead Valley Lodge.

Accommodation Room Type 1 at Namib Dune Star Camp Sossusvlei Namibia Sesriem Canyon - Carved out of the desert floor millions of years ago by the Tsauchab River Sesriem Canyon is a natural gorge that still floods with water after good rains, it is up to 30 metres deep in places and 1km long.
Its name Sesreim comes from when the early trekkers who were making their way north had to tie six (ses) belt lengths (riem) of hide together to reach the waters below to get the fresh cool waters that hide in the shade at the canyons bottom.

Accommodation Room Type 1 at Namib Dune Star Camp Sossusvlei Namibia Sesriem Canyon is a great place to explore as there is plenty shade of through the canyon keeping temperatures pleasant, note though it can still get very hot in the canyon around midday, so early morning or late afternoon is the best time to explore the fascinating layers of rock carved out by years of flowing water.

There are plenty photographic opportunities as the light shines into the canyon and at some times of the year there are pools of water sill in the canyon filled with seasonal barbells!

Sesriem Canyon is about a 10 minute drive from Sesriem entrance and will only take about an hour for a leisurely exploration, please be aware there is no solid path into the canyon and the ground can be quite slippery with loose rocks and sand so wear decent shoes and proceed with caution.

Accommodation Room Type 1 at Namib Dune Star Camp Sossusvlei Namibia Sossusvlei - This is what it is all about, the 'heart' of the Namib Desert Sossusvlei, Namibias best known attraction, spectacular gently curving red sanddunes under a blistering hot sun.
Accommodation Room Type 1 at Namib Dune Star Camp Sossusvlei Namibia

Sossusvlei is a large dry white salt pan surrounded by towering red dunes that reach up to 400 metres above sea level, making them the highest (not tallest) sand dunes in the world. Sossusvlei means 'dead end marsh' because it is where the Tsauchab River meets its match when it does flow and gathers in a shallow lake barred from any further progress towards the sea by the large dunes that block its path. Water only runs this far into the desert every 8 years or so when there is enough rain far inland to flood this far.

Accommodation Room Type 1 at Namib Dune Star Camp Sossusvlei Namibia This area of flat white crusted desert and surrounding dunes make some of the most photogenic desert scenery you will ever witness. Te best time to visit, both for good photos and the best experience is at dawn to experience the first light flooding over the sand dunes, watch the changing colours and chase the shadows as the sun rises high into the clear blue sky, feel the temperature go from cold to cool to warm then hot then blistering! You can also go late afternoon to experience the lowering sun but you cannot watch sunset at Sossusvlei as you have to leave the park before sunset and Sossusvlei is a 69km from the entrance gate!

Accommodation Room Type 1 at Namib Dune Star Camp Sossusvlei Namibia The road from Sesriem to Sossusvlei is tar (narrow slightly potholed) for the first 65km accessible in a 2wd vehicle, then there is a 2wd vehicle parking are where you can choose to walk into the vlei or you can pay for a ride in an NWR 4wd transfer vehicle that will take you the last 5km into the Vlei, if you have a 4wd you are allowed to drive the last 5km but the track has very deep sand so lower tyre pressure and know how to 4wdrve in hot sand! Accommodation Room Type 1 at Namib Dune Star Camp Sossusvlei Namibia
Deadvlei - 1 km into the desert from Sossusvlei is this amazing flat, open, white, salt crusted area dotted with dry preserved tree remains that are 900 years old, the arid dry, hot climate has preserved them like statues of nature. It makes for surreal photos as the stark dark trees contrast with the white ground, red dunes and blue, blue sky, a photographer can spend hours here.
It is a hot shadeless walk from Sossusvlei to Deadvlei so take a hat and water as well as all that camera equipment!
Accommodation Room Type 1 at Namib Dune Star Camp Sossusvlei Namibia Dune 45 - This remarkable wandering dune is 45km from Sesriem, hence the name Dune 45.
Accommodation Room Type 1 at Namib Dune Star Camp Sossusvlei Namibia Dune 45 is 85 metres high but what makes it very distinctive is that it stands out from the main desert almost separate showing off its beautiful elegant shape. It is a very photographic and often has the wind whipping across the top creating beautiful images making it well worth the stop on the way back from Sossusvlei or even an option for sunrise.

Accommodation Room Type 1 at Namib Dune Star Camp Sossusvlei Namibia Elim Dune - Located just 5km north of the Sesriem entrance Elim Dune often referred to as Sunset Dune is a red dune that can be reached by a 2wd vehicle or even makes a pleasant early morning/afternoon stroll from the Sesriem camp site. It is not a big dune but is an excellent place to sit and absorb the surrounding beauty and enjoy sunset.
Accommodation Room Type 1 at Namib Dune Star Camp Sossusvlei Namibia

More information about the Namib Desert

It is considered to be the oldest desert in the world after the Atacama Desert in Chile. The Namib's aridity is caused by the descent of dry air cooled by the cold Benguela current along the coast. It has less than 10 mm (0.4 inches) of rain annually and is almost completely barren.

The Namib Naukluft Park is Namibia's largest nature reserve, about 50,000 sqkms in size. Most parts of this enormous area are not accessible to man. You can only visit a small stretch north of the Kuiseb river: the Naukluft Mountains and the Sossusvlei in the central dune fields.
The northern part between Swakop and Kuiseb is called the Namib Section.

The highlight of a visit to the Namib Naukluft Park is a trip to the Sossusvlei. It lies within an area of about 32 000 sqkms, the largest part of the park. Sossusvlei is the one attraction that should not be missed while you are in Namibia, the dunes are amazing and even though this is a popular tourist destination it is still easy to gain a sense of solitude while climbing one of the dunes or walking to dead or hidden vlei.

The sand-dunes at Sossusvlei are some 60km from the Sesriem gate (the entrance to the park) and the drive takes about an hour. The gate into Sesriem only opens at sunrise, so those staying outside of the park (which includes all the lodges in the area with the exception of Sossus Dune Lodge) will have to wait until sunrise to begin their journey to the dunes. Many of the lodges outside the Sesreim gate however have access to private areas of spectacular desert where they will take you for the Namib Sunrise experience.

Although the road into Sossusvlei is renowned for its rough condition it is traversable with a normal sedan vehicle (two wheel drive). The road from Sesriem to the 2x4 car park (4 kilometres from the vlei) is tarred but is in poor condition and is pot-holed. Because the dunes close in and the road becomes a sandy track near the vlei itself, if you do not have your own 4x4 you will have to walk the final stretch from the 2X4 parking area to the vlei - many people do - or use the 4x4 transfer service.

The best time to view Sossusvlei is close to sunrise and sunset; the colours are strong and constantly changing, allowing for wonderful photographic opportunities. The midday heat is intense and best spent in the shade while sunset also offers excellent photo opportunities at Sossusvlei.
'Vlei' is the Afrikaans word for a shallow depression filled with water (well, a depression that might sometimes be filled with water!), and the name 'Sossusvlei' should strictly only be applied to the pan that lies at the place where the dunes close in, preventing the waters of the Tsauchab River from flowing any further - that is, on the rare occasions that the river does flow as far as this.
During exceptional rainy seasons, Sossusvlei may fill with water, causing Namibians to flock there to witness the grand sight, but normally it is bone dry. This particular 'vlei' is actually a more-or-less circular, hard-surfaced depression that is almost entirely surrounded by sharp-edged dunes, beyond which lies a formidable sea of rolling sand, stretching in unbroken immensity all the way to the coast.
However, the name 'Sossusvlei' nowdays applies to the whole area - an area that encompasses the great plain of the Tsauchab River together with the red dunes that march along like giant sentinels to south and north of the plain.
The second attraction of the area is Sesriem Canyon, which is only a few kilometres from the campsite, the entrance gate, and main Nature Conservation office.
The canyon derives its name from the fact that early Afrikaner trekkers had to use six ('ses') leather thongs (a thong is a 'riem') so that their buckets could reach the water far below. The canyon begins as an almost imperceptible but nevertheless deep cleft in level, stony ground, and then widens until it finally flattens out onto the plain. Because it is so deep and sheltered, it often holds water well into the dry season - an invigorating sight in such a barren and stark environment.