Sossusvlei: How to best experience the dunes
The two best sights in Namibia are, without question, the wildlife in Etosha Park and the dunes at Sossusvlei, though if time was short the Namib Desert dunes just outside Swakopmund could work as a junior attraction.
Getting to Sossusvlei is a pain. It’s a very long drive from the nearest serious attraction – Swakopmund – and entry to the park is only from sunrise to sunset so visitors will need to stay at least a couple of nights nearby. Most visitors overnight at a lodge, though lodges very near to the park gates are very expensive.
Places to stay
A Solitaire bungalow front door.
Two of the more economical accommodation options are to stay around the ‘village’ of Solitaire that is about an hour’s drive from the park gate, or to camp in a site outside the gate at Sesriem, though nights get extremely cold and days are quite the opposite. Also, try to book a space ahead as the campsite is popular.
After entering Sossusvlei Park at Sesriem, preferably at sunrise, there is 75km (50mls) of potholed tarmac road – and potholed tarmac is way worse than regular dirt road – along a flat valley floor between monster dunes like Dune 45 above.
The dunes range from 100m to a staggering 600m high, the highest in the world apart from some in Saudi Arabia that you couldn’t see even if you wanted to, as general tourism is not permitted there.