The immense rich ochre sand dunes of the Sossusvlei are one of the most wondrous sights in the world.
The Sossusvlei, Namibia's famous highlight in the heart of the Namib Desert, is a huge clay pan, enclosed by giant sand dunes. The sand dunes are the highest in the world, 300meters. The pan or vlei only fills with water after heavy rains, which are rare. When the vlei does get filled the turquoise lake will remain for quite some time due to the layers of clay.
The dunes of the Namib desert have developed over a period of many millions of years. It is thought that the vast quantities of sand were deposited into the Alantic Ocean by the Orange river. This material was subsequently moved northwards by the Benguela current to be dumped back onto the land by the surf. The coastal dunes developed as a result of this and were shifted further and further inland by the wind. Wind continuously reshapes the patterns of the huge dunes of the Namib desert. It slowly forces the grains of sand on the flat windward slope upwards to the crest of the dune. Here they fall down in the windward shade. The leeward slope is therefore always considerably steeper than the windward side.
Sossusvlei and the Namib Naukluft Park is very popular with photographers. The colours, shapes and contrast of the dunes against the clear blue sky are constantly changing from sunrise to sunset.
The desert also makes an interesting contrast to a safari and is often combined with Etosha Pan for a safari.
Sossusvlei safari lodge maps
Kulala Desert Lodge map: Kulala lies in the heart of the Namib
Little Kulala map: Little Kulala lies in the heart of the Namib on the western side of the Kulala Wilderness Reserve
Sossusvlei Wilderness Camp map: Huge towering dunes, the highest in the world, rise dramatically over 1000 feet above the surrounding plains at Sossusvlei itself