Sossusvlei is possibly Namibia’s most spectacular and best-known attraction. It is surrounded by high, red dunes, located in the southern part of the Namib Desert, in the Namib-Naukluft National Park of Namibia. The national park is Africa’s largest conservation area.
The Naukluft and Tsaris mountains to the east, and the impressive dunes to the west, make the journey to Sossusvlei one of the best roads to drive in southern Africa.
Sossusvlei translates to “dead-end marsh”, as it is the place where the dunes come together preventing the Tsauchab River to flow any further. However, due to arid conditions in the Namib Desert, the river seldom flows this far and the pan remains bone-dry most years.
But, during an exceptional rainy season, the Tsauchab fills the pan, drawing visitors from all over the world to witness its splendour. Budding photographers will want to capture on camera, the glassy “lake” with reflections of the surrounding dunes when the pan fills. The best part? When the pan fills, it can hold water for a year.
The Namib’s red sand in the area shimmers like sparkling gems during sunrise and sunset, making for a stunning scene to admire on your drive.
The dunes are among the highest in the world; many of them are above 200m.
Travelling from Swakpmund via the bustling harbour of Walvis Bay to Sossusvlei, the C19 winds its way along the edge of the vast Namib desert, facing ever-changing landscapes. If you’re driving from Windhoek, the C26 takes you over the Kupferberg (copper mountain) and down towards the desert. Either way, you can marvel at Mother Nature’s great work on your drive. Take care on the C26, which is predominately a gravel road, and stick to the 60km/h speed limit.
If you’re travelling via Solitare, take care when driving the C14 gravel road and ensure you are comfortable driving on such roads. It is worth stopping to grab a slice of the Big Moose Bakery’s world-famous apple strudel. Sesriem is 83 km from Solitaire, and a further 60 km will take you to Sossusvlei. You have to buy a permit to enter, but it’s worth it because when you pass through the gate, you will discover an alternative universe where everything here is as it should be. From here, you can marvel at the sun-blackened remains of the camelthorn trees, some more than 500 years old.
The route is primarily gravel, so Avis Rent a Car recommends a four-wheel drive vehicle such as a Toyota Fortuner that has plenty of traction and ground clearance. You can sit back, relax and enjoy the horizon ahead because of the comfortable cabin and loads of space.
Despite manoeuvring around twists and turns, you won’t be able to take your eyes off Mother Nature’s jewel box.
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Source & Images: Ogilvy PR