Sossusvlei is synonymous with red sand dunes and Namibia. It’s one of the most popular tourist spots in Africa and for good reason, the beauty of Sossusvlei is simply spectacular.
This unspoiled landscape which is part of the oldest desert in the world features some of the world’s highest sand dunes and Deadvlei, a clay pan with dead camelthorn trees some estimated to be 900 years old.
We traveled to Sossusvlei as part of our overland trip and stayed for 3 nights.
Where to stay in Sossusvlei
Namibia Wildlife Resorts Sesriem Campsite
This is the only campsite situated inside the Namib Naukluft Park. Guests who stay at this camp are allowed to enter the park before sunrise and stay until after sunset.
This was the main reason why we chose to stay at this camp. Being able to watch the sunrise from high on top of a dune is truly a bucket list experience. You also get a 1-hour head start before the gate opens to all the tourists staying outside the park. Believe me, as soon as the gate opens, busses and busses of tourists will arrive.
The camping fee for Sesriem Campsite was expensive compared to the camping rates in the rest of Namibia, but I have found that all Namibia Wildlife Resort camps are generally more expensive.
There are 44 sites inside the Sesriem campsite however, not all of them have sufficient shade. Camps are pre-allocated by the reception so I would strongly recommend calling ahead and asking for a site with a big tree. Temperatures can rise to 38°C/100°F, so having a site with a lot of shade can be a lifesaver.
Each campsite has a braai, water tap, and animal proof rubbish bins.
The shared ablutions are basic, and I feel need an upgrade given the expensive rate and the number of campsites, but not the worsts I’ve seen in Africa.
There is a swimming pool to cool down, a restaurant to grab a cold beer and shop to buy snacks.
NAMIBIA WILDLIFE RESORTS – SESRIEM CAMPSITE
- Distance from Sossusvlei Entrance: 50m
- Rates: *N490 per person ( max 8 people per campsite)
- Book online: https://www.nwr.com.na/resorts/sesriem-camp
We stayed at Desert Camp during our 2014 trip to Sossusvlei and loved every second of it, I even featured in my Top 5 Favourite Tented Camps in Southern Africa.
A comfortable stay in a self-catering unit with a small kitchenette and shaded veranda. There’s a communal pool and a bar to relax after a full day of exploring.
DESERT CAMP – SOSSUSVLEI
- Distance from Sossusvlei Entrance: 5km
- Rate: Upon Request
- Book Online: https://www.sossusvlei.org/accommodation/desert-camp/
Sossusvlei Oasis Campsite
This campsite is just outside the entrance gate to Sossusvlei opposite the fuel station, with 12 individually shaded sites and a communal swimming pool.
This is a fancier but a cheaper camping option to Sesriem campsite as each campsite has electricity, a private shower, and toilet as well as a kitchen/wash-up facility. A maximum of 6 people are allowed per campsite.
SOSSUSVLEI OASIS CAMPSITE
- Distance from Sossusvlei Entrance: 0.1km
- Rate: *N230 per person ( max 6 people per campsite)
- Book online with SafariNow
Activities in Sossusvlei
You need to purchase a permit for the Namib Naukluft Park in order to visit all the areas listed below. Permits can be bought at the Sesriem office near the entrance or any Nambia Wildlife Resort office in Namibia.
Located in the heart of Sossusvlei, is a clay pan with scattered with dead camelthorn trees, some estimated to be 900 years old.
It’s an incredible sight to see and one of the top attractions in Namibia.
My suggestion is to go to Deadvlei as early in the morning as possible when the temperatures are still cool. We arrived at 9 AM and by that time the sun was already blazing hot.
You need to walk about 1.1km into the desert to reach Deadvlei so make sure you take along water, a hat and cover up with sunscreen.
Deadvlei and Sossusvlei can only be reached with a 4×4 vehicle. At the end of the tarmac road, there is a parking lot for busses and 2×4 vehicles. Shuttles provide access to the last 5 kilometers and costs *N180 p/p.
If you are renting a 4×4 and do not have experience driving in thick sand, then I suggest you make use of the shuttle service as we’ve seen multiple vehicles get stuck in the sand.
Sunrise on Dune 45
Located 45km from the Sesriem gate is Dune 45, the most photographed dune in the world. It’s the ideal spot to watch the sunrise in the East as it is easily accessible by tar road and one of the few dunes tourists are allowed to climb in the park.
Take on the Big Daddy Dune
Big Daddy at 325 meters is the tallest dune in the Sossusvlei area. If you are up for the trek, you can view Deadvlei from the top, but be sure to take a lot of water with you for the climb.
A magnificent display of rock formations shaped by the Tsauchab River over millions of years. The Sesriem Canyon is another popular tourist attraction in the area best explored in the early morning or late afternoon.
When you arrive it might seem that there is nothing to see, but once you descent into the canyon you suddenly begin to feel very small.
Take a leisurely walk through the canyon and explore the different rock formations and hidden caves. Look out for little creatures and birds that have made the canyon their home. Expect to spend about 1-2 hours at this attraction.
How to get to Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei is situated in the largest conservation area in Africa, the Namib Naukluft Park in the southwestern part of Namibia.
Nearest international airport: Hosea Kutako International Airport, Windhoek
Windhoek – 330km
Swakopmund – 346km
Walvis Bay – 315km
Lüderitz – 506km
Vioolsdrif – 686km / 740km via Keetmanshoop and Maltahöhe
Cape Town – 1366km
Johannesburg – 1636km
We had zero cell reception in the Sossusvlei area, but if you need to connect there is an Internet Cafe at the Sossus Oasis Service Station or you can buy a data voucher at the shop counter. We bought a data voucher and it was very expensive. The connection was very slow so not something I would purchase again unless it’s an emergency.
When to visit Sossusvlei
The best time to visit Sossusvlei is from May to October (dry season) when temperatures are a little cooler. This is also the peak tourist season. Namibia has great weather all year round but if you do plan to visit during summer months (November – April) then expect very hot days where temperatures can rise to 38°C/100°F with the occasional afternoon thunderstorm. We visited Sossusvlei in February, and although it’s not always pleasant to camp in such hot weather we prefer visiting popular tourist destinations like Sossusvlei when it’s low season.
What to pack for Sossusvlei
- Comfortable Shoes
- Water Bottle
- Hat and high SPF Sunscreen
- Coffee & Rusks for Sunrise on the Dune
- Comfortable airy clothing
For more Sossusvlei inspiration and to view our full experience in Namibia check out my husband’s (Juba’s Journey) video below:
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I won’t recommend products/places if I haven’t used & loved it myself.
*Rates correct at time of publishing and subject to change