One of the most famous pictures of Namibia are the dunes of Sossusvlei. Without knowing you probably have seen them in a commercial before. As with a lot of popular destinations, it is quite pricey. For the campsite within the park, you pay 37 USD for two people plus 7.5 USD per day for the park permit. That’s why we just stayed one day and had an intensive morning of driving around.
Where to stay
There are some campsites outside the park. We checked the one next to the petrol station which charged 34 USD for two people. The problem with staying outside the gates is that you have to wait until 7 am to enter and will miss the sunrise.
The only way to watch the sunrise over dune 45 is to stay at the official park campsite. But it’s just 3 USD more and at least you can enjoy the pool.
Sunrise at Dune 45
This is an absolute must when you are here. When you stay at the campsite within the park, get up very early and head to the inner gate which opens at 6 am. Be careful of gemsboks and springboks when you drive the 40 minutes to Dune 45 in the dark. Climb all the way to the highest point for the best views of the sunrise. Alternatively, you can walk around the dune on the right side and climb from the back which could be less exhausting.
After this morning exercise, head to the 2WD car park. Here is the start of the 2km one-way trail to Hidden Vlei. By the time you start the walk, it will already be hot and you probably won’t see a lot of people on the trail, but it’s worth the effort. The view over the dunes and the pan are breathtaking. It’s also a good spot for jumping pictures.
4×4 Road to Dead Vlei and Sossusvlei
Now comes the part where the 4×4 really pays off. It’s a challenging drive and the official shuttle drivers will discourage you from driving it yourself (they want to charge you 14 USD for taking the shuttle), but it is doable. After the first km, it will get really sandy and we recommend that you go around 35 km/h in second gear and most importantly DON’T STOP. We left the car at the Big Daddy carpark and walked the kilometer to Sossusvlei. Afterwards, we walked a bit to Deadvlei but were exhausted so we didn’t follow the path all the way. By then the sun was burning at about 40 degrees and it was only 11:30 am so make sure you drink a lot of water the whole time.
Prepare yourself for your next trip
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