Many people travel to Namibia just to see Sossusvlei. This completely unique place in the world makes the travel to Namibia worth it. We promise you that you will have completely new feelings and the images that cross your eyes and your camera won’t be seen in any other part of the world. Being in Sossusvlei is like crashing into a Dalí painting, it is like living a dream.
The oldest desert in the world. The tallest dunes in the world. The unique orange color of the sand, the white clay pans spotted with dead acacias… Don’t miss our story, photos and a surprise!
Everything started the day before.
We tried to book a campsite in the Sesriem Camping three months before, but we couldn’t. It was fully booked! Sesriem Camping is inside the border of Namib-Naukluft National Park. To visit Sossusvlei it is needed to cross two gates. Between both there is the Sesriem Camping. Only the guests of this camping are allowed to go to Sossusvlei one hour before the external gate opens. This means that only the guests in this camping will have time to reach the highest dunes in the world, climb one of them and watch one of the most beautiful sunrises in the world. Sleeping in the Sesriem Camping allows you to have an experience that will be part of you forever.
So, the day before, without having booked any accomodation we decided to try it. It was late, the sun almost under the horizon, and we were still driving towards Sesriem, with a dust plume behind us, the infinite desert in front of us. When we arrived in Sesriem, we knew we only had two options: a) to be lucky and find a place in the camping or b) to sleep somewhere in the middle of nowhere. And we were lucky! We could sleep in a free camping area between the two gates of the Namib-Naukluft National Park! We set the alarm at 4:30 in the morning and at 5 o’clock we were crossing the internal gate among others towards the desert paradise.
We reached the Dune 45 before the sunrise. Its name is because it is located at km 45 from Sesriem to Sossusvlei. We parked at its feet and, without having had breakfast, in the cold morning we started to climb it. We needed 45 minutes! But once on the top… woooow! The sun sent its rays directly to the orange-red dunes.
We don’t remember how much time we spent at the top of the dune but we promise it was difficult to leave that moment behind us. And then, something unique happened… I asked Laura: “Do you want to marry me?” And she said: “Yes!”.
Live is full of unforgettable moments. Make them join in time and you’ll have an unbreakable future.
After this moment we ran down the Dune 45 through its East side. It was funny to feel our feet full of sand, our face bathed with orange light and the cold air in our skin. Then we had breakfast and drove towards the Dead Vlei.
4 km before the Dead Vlei there is a car park. Only 4×4 vehicles can go further until where the Dead Vlei and the start point for climbing the Big Daddy are. For those with no 4×4 you can use a shuttle. Once there we started to climb the Big Daddy. The sun was still quite low in the sky and the shades and shapes of the desert were astonishing. Big Daddy is the highest dune in the world!
Almost 2 hours were needed to reach the top. Once there you have the best views of Sossusvlei. Don’t forget to have full battery in your camera, you’ll need it.
We spent some time at the top. This is one of those places where our Mapping The Map quote makes sense:
“There is a thing that makes any trip unique. We know that where we walk around, where we eat, where we sleep, where we take a rest or where we laugh are places that probably we will not visit again. Places that we discover while knowing that some seconds later we will no longer be there, in an ephemeral manner, but with the same enthusiasm as two kids discovering the colors.”
And then it was time to go down. How? Running the side of the dune! 325 metres tall that can be run in less than 2 minutes. It was exhausting, we ended with our boots full of sand. I had sand also inside my ears because I fell doing somersaults. It was really really funny! And once you hit the white clay pan you need to empty your boots and start walking in the heat towards the dead acacias.
And this is maybe the most Dalinian landscape on Earth. It is like being in a different planet or directly in one of the Dalí paintings. It is a surrealist landscape but it is real.
This is a very delicate landscape. It is important to respect it. Those trees have been there for thousands of years and some irresponsible tourists have already broken some branches. If this place was in Europe or in the USA there would be a lot of surveillance. In Sossusvlei there isn’t it and that for sure makes this place more unique and authentic.