Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei
Namibia's Tsauchab River doesn't often run but, when it does, it delivers a little moisture to the circular Sossusvlei clay pan before draining away forever into the sandy wastes.

The Sossusvlei lakebed marks the end of the Tsauchab River and is located in the middle of the Namib Naukluft Park, surrounded by the barren wastes of the Namib Desert. The vlei - and in Afrikaans "vlei" means "watery ditch" - is hardly ever moist and is typically o­nly a barren patch of sundried sand, but this particular sand-patch lies between some of the largest sand dunes in the world. Sossusvlei has a unique and stark beauty, and visitors eagerly travel the 60-odd kilometers from the nearest Naukluft Park gate to catch the many colors of the vlei's dunes o­n film in the early morning or late evening.

Those visiting Sossusvlei during the day should be aware that the place can become almost unbearably hot - even in the coolest seasons - and should plan accordingly. There is, however, no substitute for watching the magnificent dunes, which often reach between 300 and 400 meters in height, slowly change color from a shady stronghold near the relative oasis of the small vlei, and cameras should always be held at the ready.

Sossusvlei
Local flora and fauna include the Hartmann's mountain zebra as well as the intriguing camelthorn, or acacia, tree although the Sossusvlei area of the Naukluft Park is renowned more for its spectacular dune-sea sights than its wildlife or plantlife. Those planning a trip to Sossusvlei should, furthermore, make sure that their vehicles are in good condition as the road to the vlei has surely seen better days.

Sossusvlei - and its surrounding dunes - is o­ne of the wonders of the desert world and will delight the most jaded of travelers.