Sossusvlei, dreamy landscapes

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.

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While climbing the Big Daddy during the sunrise, the Dalinian landscapes are seen towards the Dead Vlei.

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.

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The sunrise among the highest dunes in the world

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.

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At sunrise the sun only hits one face of the giant dunes. It is the best moment for photos.

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.

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The sea of sand. The Namib desert from the Dune 45

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.

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The Ring nailed in the Namib Desert sand

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.

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An acacia growing at the feet of Dune 45

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!

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Big Daddy on the left. Dead Vlei on the right

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.

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Look at the people in the bottom right corner. They are climbing the dune… The top of the Big Daddy is not seen in this photo.

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.”

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Where the Big Daddy meets the Dead Vlei

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.

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The clay pan among the highest dunes in the world

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.

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One dead acacia

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.

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Two Traveling Texans

 

41 thoughts on “Sossusvlei, dreamy landscapes”

  1. Congrats on your engagement! That is so exciting. What an amazing place, the photos really do look like Dali paintings. I am so glad you got lucky with the camping spot!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely love it! I have always wanted to Namibia and I knew about the stunning desert and dunes there. But your pictures move it to another level – I need to go there as soon as possible 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing at #TheWeeklyPostcard

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This place does not look real. Some of your pictures look like abstract paintings. I am sure the early sun rays give the place and entire different vibe. No wonder people want to visit during that time. Had no idea about the camping situation. Interesting how certain places work. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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    1. Hi Esther! I would not do this travel with a baby. Maybe not because of the dangers, but because of the uncomfortability. In Namibia distances are huge and you will need to drive many hours every day. In addition to this you may plan a travel to Namibia different than ours, more relaxed and slow. If that is the case, why not? I recommend you our post about the dangers in Namibia https://mappingthemap.com/2017/09/23/the-biggest-danger-in-namibia/

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      1. Thank you! Well, the baby wouldn’t be there yet when we go. But since I’d be doing the driving that may be less than comfortable with a pregnant belly 😉 Maybe we will take a guided (small group) trip instead. Thank you for your extra info!

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    1. Hi Wendy! You are right. It is really different and do you know what? It is almost virgin. All the country! Namibia will boom the following years. Its natural heritage is incredible and few tourists visit Namibia every year. I strongly recommend to visit Namibia before it gets crowded 😉

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  4. Firstly, let me say a huge CONGRATULATIONS to you both on your engagement! That is the best place to propose! Sossusvlei is so unreal, I’m gobsmacked by your photos, incredible! You’re lucky to have made it there and that is definitely a trip to remember for a lifetime 🙂 #TheWeeklyPostcard

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have been there a few years ago and I agree it is such a unique place – not from this world. Thank you for sharing these pictures.
    Would you like to travel back once the flood comes again (if that ever happens) to see the Deadvlei coming to live again? #theweeklypostcard

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Vanessa! Do you know which is the best news? That it was not hot! It was really cold in the morning and no more than 24 ºC at noon. This is one of the benefits of traveling to Namibia in August. Thanks for your comment!

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