Sossusvlei, famous for its huge red sand dunes, is one of Namibia’s iconic destinations. The vlei, or pan, is found in the heart of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. This is one of Africa’s largest parks and incorporates the dunes, river courses and mountains of the Namib desert said to be the world's oldest. It is most famous for the massive, slowly shifting sand dunes that are most accessible around Sossusvlei and whether climbing the dunes, exploring the skeletal trees at nearby Dead Vlei or flying above them in a hot air balloon the views are incredible.
Despite the scarcity of water, the desert supports a surprising amount of life from grasses and trees to lizards and birds and larger animals such as ostrich, oryx, springbok and zebra. In the northern gravel plains of the park, to the south of Swakopmund, the strange and ancient welwitschia mirabilis plants are found. With their otherworldly appearance and their ability to survive in the harsh desert conditions, these fascinating plants are believed to live up to 1000 years or more.
Located to the south of Sossusvlei, the Namib Rand Nature Reserve is a privately owned area conserving over 170,000 hectares of the Namib desert and featuring diverse landscapes including dunes, grassy plains and mountains. With minimal light pollution, the night skies are truly stunning, so much so that in 2012 the reserve was named as an International Dark Sky Reserve.
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The stunning red dessert of Sossusvlei is definitely a once in a lifetime view place to go. - Libby
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