Namibia Part 3: Sossusvlei, salt pan and gigantic dunes

We hired a 4wd to drive us to the Sossusvlei area. You can’t tell from the photo, but the driver was crazy and almost upended us!

We saw oryxes along the way.


We started when most people were returning – I didn’t think much of it at the time!

The salt and clay pan surrounded by the red dunes was a beautiful site to see. The ground is white due to the salt.

The salt, clay and dead trees made for a very unique landscape.

The temperature rose very quickly.

You can come down the dunes any way you like; however, to go up, you’ve got to follow the route.

So we began our climb.

The path soon brings you to the dune ridge as you climb higher. Although it felt really dangerous, if you fell either way, all that happened is that you landed on soft sand! Still, it was a hassle to climb up the slippery sand.

The elevation quickly makes for a wonderful vantage point of the salt pan.

The heat was soon an issue as we became quite thirsty and quickly finished our water supply. On top of that, the wind blew strongly.

The wind whips the sand onto your face, and it’s not easy staying on the dune ridge. We stopped several times to decide whether to go back as it was very slow progress up the dune.

And still we weren’t at the top. But the views were getting more and more breathtaking.

Finally we reached the top of the “Big Daddy” dune – one of the highest, rising about 325 m – although we didn’t continue to its highest point. In the end we were just too exhausted, hot and thirsty, to the point we risked dehydration if we didn’t stop.

When we collapsed on the top, I found a mandarin in my pocket and we shared a snack – and beyond doubt it was the best sandy mandarin I’ve ever had!

I’d lost my lens cap in the sand, and felt quite sure I’d lost it forever – until Rob found it on the way down!

Going down was very easy – just go down any way you like! It was odd seeing the hours of hard walking being undone in a few minutes.

This was one of the toughest things I’ve done because of the slow progress up the sand, the heat and the dryness of the air – but I highly recommend the Sossusvlei salt and clay pan! It was such a beautiful, raw experience.

Tip: bring LOTS of water and go very early to avoid the heat!

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