Classic Namibia Holiday
Taking in the highlights of this amazing destination, this is the perfect itinerary for your first crack at a self-drive safari.
Famous for its orange sand dunes and white pans, the area is commonly referred to as Sossusvlei and is undoubtedly one of Namibia’s most spectacular and best-known attractions. Located in the southern part of the Namib Desert in the Namib-Naukluft National Park.
Sossusvlei is actually the name of one of the salt and clay pans commonly visited in the region, but the word has become an extension used for the surrounding area and is a must visit destination on any Namibian itinerary.
There are a number of attractions in this area to explore, including Sesriem Canyon, Dune 45, Big Daddy and Deadvlei.
Dune 45 is probably the most photographed sand dune in the Namib-Naukluft National Park. It is named after it’s location which is 45km from Sesriem Gate, the main access point to the Namib-Naukluft National Park. You’re allowed to climb Dune 45 – it is a fairly tough hike to the top, but the views are worth it!
We recommend climbing this iconic dune early in the morning to make the most of the soft, golden light, and before temperatures become too hot later in the day.
The white pan of Deadvlei and it’s contrasting dark skeletal trees is the other commonly seen image of the area and often of Namibia. This is where water once settled after heavy rainfall forming a marsh and allowing the camelthorn trees to grow. It is thought after 200 years the climate changed and it dried up, so hot and dry was the climate that the trees dried out instead of decomposing.
This natural wonder is one of Namibia’s most beautiful sights - no small feat in a country known for its incredible landscapes. With it’s orange sand dunes, white clay riverbed, and cobalt blue skies, Deadvlei is one of the most photographed locations in Namibia!
Sossusvlei can be visited year-round, however the best time is during the cooler winter months from late March to October when the air is clear of dust and you get a striking contrast of the cloudless blue skies with the bright orange sand dunes. Daytime temperatures are moderate (average 20°C -28°C), however the nights are quite cold (5°C or possibly even dropping below freezing). The summer months from November to early March can get very hot – if you’re visiting at this time you should ensure that you wear a hat, apply sunscreen and carry water at all times.
The best time of day for sightseeing at Sossusvlei and the surrounding area is early morning (the park opens at sunrise) as this is the perfect time to capture the sunlight on the dunes.
We include Sossusvlei in almost all of our Namibia holidays as we think that it’s a destination that should not be missed. On our Classic Namibia and our Namibia, Chobe and Victoria Falls self-drive holidays, you’ll drive southwest from Windhoek (approx 405km) to Sossusvlei and then you’ll head north to the coastal town of Swakopmund (approx 410km).
Our recommended accommodation in the Sossusvlei area is Kulala Desert Lodge. This luxurious lodge, set in the Kulula Wilderness Reserve, features 23 canvas and thatched “kulalas”, with great views towards the dunes. Our favourite feature is the sleep-out deck, on top of each room, allowing you the chance to sleep-out under the stars. . Guests are taken on guided drives to the Sossusvlei dunes through a private gate, whilst nature drives, guided walks and sundowner tours are offered within the reserve. You can also enjoy a sunrise hot air balloon flight, with a champagne breakfast upon landing! For a step-up in luxury Little Kulala is the sister lodge within the same reserve and one of the top-end offerings in the area.