Namibia Sossusvlei

14 spots Public

Hougaard Malan

One of the most photogenic landscapes on earth is situated on the West coast of Africa, where towering mountains meet the sands of the Namib Desert. Most know it as Sossusvlei or Deadvlei, but those are both just small clay pans in the greater Tsauchab Dune Valley, which is part of the Namib Naukluft National Park. The area within the park that is so famous is the valley that the Tsauchab River cut through the colossal dunes on its journey to the Atlantic.

Many millennia ago, the dunes blocked this river’s path to the sea and today the result is a wetland amongst the world’s highest dunes. This culmination of geographic and meteorological circumstances has resulted in one of earth’s most unique and interesting landscapes. It is the last life of a landscape, dying a slow death on a timescale much too large for us to appreciate.

Photographer or not, thousands of people make the journey every year to see and photograph the dunes and dead trees. If you visit this popular tourist attraction at the wrong time it can spell disaster for photographic intentions. Choosing the right accommodation is crucial, a lesson I’ve learnt over almost 250 days spent in Namibia since 2010. The critical insider tips shared in this guide will go a long way in aiding you to get your own brilliant photographs of Sossusvlei and its surroundings.

Note, "Vlei" is the Afrikaans word for wetland and ‘Sossus’ is a word from a local language meaning place of water.

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