Photographer's Note

The sand dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert are often referred to as the highest dunes in the world. Located in the Namib Naukluft park, it is the largest conservation area in Africa, and fourth largest in the world.

The best time to view Sossusvlei is close to sunrise and sunset; the colours are strong and constantly changing, allowing for good photographic opportunities. The midday heat is intense.

'Vlei' is the Afrikaans word for a shallow depression filled with water, and the name 'Sossusvlei' should strictly be applied to the pan that lies at the place where the dunes close in, preventing the waters of the Tsauchab River from flowing any further - that is, on the rare occasions that the river does flow as far as that.

During exceptional rainy seasons, Sossusvlei may fill with water, causing Namibians to flock there to witness the grand sight, but normally it is bone dry. This particular 'vlei' is actually a more-or-less circular, hard-surfaced depression that is almost entirely surrounded by sharp-edged dunes, beyond which lies a formidable sea of rolling sand, stretching in unbroken immensity all the way to the coast.

The name 'Sossusvlei' nowadays applies to the whole area - an area that encompasses the great plain of the Tsauchab River together with the red dunes that march along like giant sentinels to south and north of the plain.


The Deadvlei is the area where the motorwar ends and the difficult road filled with sand starts. Unless you have a 4x4, it is almost impossible to continue. Finally, a five minutes drive leads you to the famous dune called “Big Daddy" or "Crazy Dune” , which takes around 20 minutes to reach the top. You can see visitors walking to the top of Big Daddy.

Cropped, increased contrast.

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Additional Photos by Erdem Kutukoglu (Suppiluliuma) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 266 W: 105 N: 604] (3931)
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