The stunning orange red dunes around Sossusvlei help contribute to the unworldly atmosphere of the place. The colouration is due to the high percentage of iron in the sand, and contrasted with the rich blue skies and the white salt pans ensures spectacular images. Sossusvlei itself is a mud pan created by an ephermeral desert river that flows through the Namib desert every 5-10 years - often not reaching the Atlantic and draining away between the dunes.

Many of the dunes are over 200m high with the largest 'Big Daddy' being close to 380m high. Many of the highest dunes are covered in vegetation, watered by the morning fogs that roll in from the Atlantic as well as underground rivers in the area.

Dead Vlei

As the river drains differently dependent on the previous year's mud deposition, taking a different course results in a complete lack of water and the death of local trees, leading to the amazing images of dead Acacia trees that are one of the signature shots of the area.

Because of the complete lack of moisture the dead trees cannot even decompose, so the ones you see have been dead for centuries - unchanged.

Wildlife Of Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei is inside Namib-Naukluft National Park, and as well as the expected reptiles and small mammals, you can also see antelope and ostriches. During certain times of year migratory birds also appear along the vlei marshes and rivers. You can also spot the amazing Namib Desert Beetle which is able to survive by collecting water on its bumpy back surface from the early morning fogs!

Travel Itineraries Featuring Sossusvlei

Places To Stay Near Sossusvlei

Places To Stay Near Sossusvlei

Desert Lodge – 23 Canvas & Thatch ‘Kulalas’ Little Kulala - 11 'Kulalas'

The scenic Kulala Wilderness Reserve is a 37 000 hectare private reserve, the closest reserve to Sossusvlei itself. The en-suite Canvas & Thatch ‘Kulalas’ (meaning ‘to sleep’) at Kulala Desert Lodge have flat rooftops - bedrolls can be placed there so you can enjoy a night's sleep under the stars. Little Kulala is a luxury desert retreat consisting of 11 climate-controlled, thatched ‘kulalas’. The varied activities bring the desert to life. These include 4x4 excursions into the Namib Naukluft Park, and nature drives and early morning walks on the Kulala Wilderness Reserve. Hot air ballooning is also available.

Desert Homestead

Desert Homestead – 20 Chalets

Desert Homestead is a friendly lodge in the Namib region, 32 km south of Sesriem, with views extending to the Rotterkaum Mountains from each of the verandas of the 20 comfortable en-suite thatched chalets - powered by wind and solar power. Desert Homestead has excellent riding horses, all docile and easy to handle - most popular are the sunrise and sunset rides.

Also enjoy vehicle nature & sundowner drives or a visit to nearby Sossusvlei.