Unquestionably one of the major highlights of Namibian travel, the towering, majestic sand seas of the Namib Desert around Sossusvlei and Sesriem are truly spectacular. The graceful curves, honeyed colours and high peaks of what some claim to be the world’s largest dunes contrast beautifully with the stark, other-worldly “vleis” that lie under their shadow. These dry valleys are striking white pans, where cracked dry mud and dead trees form an alien landscape that feels utterly unique and ethereal. Dead Vlei, Hidden Vlei and Sossusvlei itself are the most renowned, where it is possible to walk on the pans or climb the surrounding dunes to view them panoramically from above, with wonderful photo opportunities from either vantage point.
There is a surprising variety of resilient wildlife clinging onto life in the punishing environs of the Namib. During your time in Sossusvlei you will see plenty of springbok, ostrich, jackals and the beautiful oryx, photogenically dotting the timeless landscapes with their distinctive straight horns and black and white colouring. There are tok tokkie beetles, sidewinder snakes and quicksilver geckos, each uniquely adapted to live with scarce water sources and cope with the oven heat of the desert floor. Less common sightings include bat eared foxes, brown hyena and African wild cats, but the sheer diversity of life that can thrive in this harsh, vast desert is truly remarkable. Having noted the sensational landscapes and intriguing flora and fauna, there is also lots to do in the area, from climbing massive dunes to hot air ballooning, quad biking and visits to Sesriem Canyon, making Sossusvlei an essential element of any Southern Namibia itinerary.