Words and photos by Brett Goulston
How can a heap of sand dunes and dead trees lying in a salt pan, make for interesting sight-seeing? Trust me, it can… and in fact for many who visit Namibia and see the amazing Sossusvlei dunes, it’s one of the highlights!
The first thing that strikes you about this ancient region is the vastness of the sand hills and their colour. The area is massive and the colour reminded me a little of the Kimberley (but it’s sand, rather than rock).
There’s an opportunity to climb many of the dunes however there are a few more popular ones for good reason. Dune 45, which is a star dune (so called because it is 45 kms from the park gates) is definitely worth the effort. The view from the top is amazing as you can see as far as your eyes will allow. It’s quite an effort – even for the fitter among us - but you are rewarded for your hard work. When you get to the top, you will hear… well… nothing. It’s silent at the top and this adds to the experience. Allow a good 45 minutes to an hour to climb, enjoy the views and return.
The other main dune to trek to is called Sossusvlei. There are a few ways to get to the top. I tried the hard way (which I only found out later was the difficult route) by traversing from the salt pan with all the dead trees at the bottom. The easier route is from nearer to where the cars park and is a more gentle ascend . Regardless of which way you climb, you’ll need to allow two hours minimum and three is better if you plan to go all the way to the peak.
Importantly, you can still enjoy this natural wonder without trekking to the top. A 1km walk to the area with the dead trees is also a must-do. One of nature’s most interesting places to visit!
One final tip: beat the heat by leaving early. Gates open around 7.00am – Africa time, meaning give or take 30 minutes.
Join Blue Dot Travel’s small group tour to Namibia, Botswana, Vic Falls and Cape Town. Click here for more information.