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Sossusvlei is located in the Namib-Naukluft national park in the Namib Desert and is characterized with a lot of sand dunes that were formed many years ago. It is considered to be one of the top tourist attractions in the Namib-Naukluft making it a top destination for the many tourists who visit Namibia. Sossusvlei can loosely translated as dead end Marsh and this is because of the prescience of the sand dunes that prevented the flow of a River through them. This clay pan barely has any life on it and this is because of its dry nature that is experienced all throughout the year but you will still find those that have tried to adapt to the Desert life although this will be extremely on the low as compared to other places in the country.
There are several tourist attractions within Sossusvlei and those surrounding the area and all these can easily be accessed although you will need a 4×4 car to get you through the bad roads that are filled with sand. You can either hire out a vehicle or get one of the shuttles that are provided by the tour company but all in all you will enjoy your trip to the Sossusvlei. Sossusvlei is an all year round place for tourists to visit and this is due to the fact that the weather that is experienced in the area is the same throughout the year and all you need to do is just get ready for the hot weather and carry lots of water while in the place.
Tourist attractions in Sossusvlei
There are so many tourist attractions in Sossusvlei that will make your stay in Namibia worthwhile and some of the places that you can get to visit include the following:
The Deadvlei, this is clay pan that is located right next to Sossusvlei and one of the best places that all tourists should visit while in the country. The area has acacia trees that are believed to be about 900 years of age and the orange to red sand dunes are worth visiting especially for all those that love photo safaris but as you head down to the Deadvlei make sure that you have lots of water on you due to the heat in the area.
The Sesriem canyon, the canyon is located right at the entrance of the Namib-Naukluft National Park and historians believe that it has been in existence for more than 100 years. The name Sesriem came from explorers who were trying to get water from below the canyon but due to its depth were forced to make a rope from six leather straps as this was the only way they would be able to lower their bucket in order to fetch water. The leather straps in Afrikaans can loosely be translated as riem and six can also be loosely translated as Ses and that is how the name came about. It is the also the only place in the whole area that actually has water all year round unlike other places that are sometimes dry due to the Desert like conditions in the place.
The Big daddy sand dune, this is the largest and tallest sand dune in Sossusvlei rising about 325 meters towards the sky. You can either go quad biking around the Big daddy sand dune or take a hike up but with the help of a tour guide and do not forget to carry lots of water if you are planning on hiking up this big sand dune.
The Hiddenvlei, this is one of the least visited in Sossusvlei but this does not mean that it is not a good place for tourists to visit and just like any other vlei in the area, you will need a lot of water on your trip down there. Your trip to the Hiddenvlei will be like a tracking animal experience because you will learn how to distinguish between the many animal foot prints that can be seen in the sand and if you are lucky you might be able to see some animals that live in the sand especially the Namib Gecko but you will need a 4×4 van to take you around Hiddenvlei because the routes are all filled with sand.
Activities carried out in Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei is a top place for tourists due to the many activities that can be carried out while here and some of the activities that you can put on your bucket list before visiting Namibia and Sossusvlei in particular include the following:
Go for a balloon ride above the Desert, one of the best ways in which tourists can explore Sossusvlei and these are mostly done in the mornings because during this time, the air is a bit still for the balloons to fly out over the sand dunes. It is a good place for all those that love photos and you get a chance to see the sand dunes from a different angle and perspective.
Go for water hunting in the canyon, Sossusvlei can get extremely hot especially during the dry season which is experienced almost throughout the year and the only place you can get water from is the Sesriem canyon which has water all year round. You can easily walk to the canyon but the real problem comes when it comes to getting the water from underground, now that needs skill and the only way you will learn how to plunge that bucket down the canyon and pull it out, you will need to visit the canyon in Sossusvlei.
Go Quad biking around the sand dunes, it should be noted that the Sossusvlei is filled with a lot sand dunes both small and big and these can be explored when one goes for a quad bike in the Sossusvlei. The rides are always executed with the help of a tour guide and these will give you basic instructions that you will need to follow while riding and for all those that are willing to hike, you can do so after quad biking through the Desert.
Go hiking on the sand dunes, there are so many sand dunes that are located in Sossusvlei and with the assistance of a tour guide you can go hiking up the dunes. Some of the best sand dunes to hike up while here include the big daddy sand dune, the Dun 45, the Hiddenvlei sand dune, the Deadvlei sand dune and all these provide a different challenge for all those that take hikes around them. as you head out for the hikes in Sossusvlei make sure that you carry lots of water, you put on proper clothing and follow the tour guides and all their instructions.
Go camping in Sossusvlei, although sometimes it is hard for one to go camping in Sossusvlei due to the heat that sometimes becomes unbearable, it is a good way for one to explore the area especially if you are going for a mobile camping safari around the Desert like area. There are tents that are provided by the tour operators and you will have to go with a tour guide while on these camps to avoid attacks from some of the Desert animals that roam the place at night and besides the heat, it is a perfect place if you love the open wild as you star gaze.
Take a walk to Elim, this is the only place that is green in the entire Sossusvlei region and even though the place is just partially covered with vegetation, it is a good place for tourists to rest from the hot sun and it is also a perfect place for one to go and experience the sunrise before the heat comes up.
Drive through the Namib-Naukluft National park which is located right in the center of Sossusvlei. There are not so many animals that habitate within this area but the few that you can find include baboons that are adapted to the harsh Desert conditions, springboks and Oryx. But while here you will be able to also go for a hike on the Naukluft Mountain that is located in the close proximity of Park and get to view the whole park from an elevated point of view. There is this one hike trail that is normally used when it comes to hiking in the Naukluft Mountain and this known as the olive trail which is about 10 kilometers long and takes about four to five hours but the exciting things that you will get to see while on this hike will be enough to keep you on your toes.
Enjoy a dinner in the Namib Desert, one of the many things that you can do while in the Sossusvlei is to enjoy a dinner in the wilderness. There is a private area where you can go and have dinner with your family and friends around a fire and this can only be done when the sun goes down.