Sossusvlei

 

The most famous and scenic attractions of the park are the red sand dunes at Sossusvlei, which are the tallest sand dunes in the world with an altitude of up to 300 meters.  The best time to visit the sand dunes is undoubtedly early in the morning at sunrise or late in the afternoon just before sunset.  The red color of the sand is very strong and bright, allowing wonderful photographic opportunities.  It's difficult in the early morning to see the color. But as the sun slowly rises, for a few more minutes invisible just below the horizon, the dunes' rich deep orange-red colors begin to emerge.

45 km past the gate is Dune 45, also known as one of the most photographed dunes in the world. The dune is 80 meters high and it is not very steep, so it can easily be climbed. The best time for photography is in the evening, just before sunset when the sand gets that famous red glow and shadows of nearby trees on the dune are excellent objects for photography.

 
 

Driving through the deep sand to Sossusvlei was quite adventurous to say the least.  If you don't have 4WD, don't even attempt to drive there. There is a carpark for 2WD vehicles about 5km from Sossusvlei where you need to park your car and either walk (which can be quite hard in hot temperatures) or for a fee, take one of the shuttles.  It was interesting to see a few cars stuck in the sand which were hopelessly waiting for someone to rescue them.  One of the cars that got stuck deeply in the sand only 15m behind a big sign saying "4WD beyond this point only, Penalty $300".  We didn't quite understand what the driver was trying to achieve.

 

Once we got to Sossusvlei, we climbed one of the high dunes opposite the car park.  We can tell you that if you have a great fitness level, it will  come very handy here.  The dunes are quite steep and you can't help but think that you are constantly making one step forward and two steps back, huffing and puffing your way to the top.  The hike is very strenuous but great exercise.  Once you get to the top and see the view, you'll quickly forget about the hard yards you've just done.

 

Driving back towards the main gate to the park, you can stop as many times as you want because photo opportunities are endless here.  The shapes of dunes and lights and shadows in the morning and evening are dream for every landscape photographer.

 

Only a few kilometres behind the main gate you can see Fairy Circles, the enigmatic barren patches of land several metres wide.  There are still ongoing debates as to their origin.

 

When driving through the park be extremely careful as there is lots of wildlife roaming the plains around you.  Herds of oryxes and springbooks are very common in this area

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