The Sossusvlei is a big loam swale at the end of the Tsauchab River surrounded of up to 300 m high dunes.
The floatation of the loam swale takes place at an average all 10 years and is the basis for a scanty
vegetation consisting of Salsola bushes and Acacias. There are differently formed dunes, like star and
sickle dunes created by ground obstacles. In the Namib desert blows a continual wind, forms the dune and
allows them to move. Many dunes are fossilized, because rain condenses the sand. The reddish color varies
with the proportion of iron oxide in the sand. The sand is a removed sediment of the rivers.
At the early morning we started from Betesda rest camp with hope to snatch a place on the campground in
Sesriem. Unfortunately, the efforts were completely for nothing. The campground was complete (principally
from Overlandern) booked. Then we got a place on the ground near the gas station, the night entertainment
by the diesel generator was included. About 10 o'clock we started on bumpy paths towards Sossusvlei.
However, at this time the sunlight was not good enough in order to shoot photos, additional, the strong wind
took care for a little bit misty air during this day. After few kilometers we reached the Elim dune, an easy
passable dune with big grass bunches and after 45 kms of left hand the famous dune 45. Gigantic 5 star dunes
accompanied us to right hand on the way to the Sossusvlei. 5 km before Sossusvlei exist a parking lot for
the 2 wheel driven vehicles. One can walk the last meters or pay 80, - Nam $ for round trip with a taxi.
The taxi is advisable in any case, because it saves power for the long day walk in the dunes.
Arrived in the Sossusvlei we proceeded on the "footpath" of approx. ½ hour by heavy sand in the neighboring
Deadvlei. We were on the trip in deepest "winter", at the end of June and it was very hot and strenuous.
I don't want to make this tour in January in the biggest midday heat, anyway solar protection and a lot of
water must be taken along. The Deadvlei, a loam swale cut-off as a result of sand accumulation from the
periodical water stream, is not less worth seeing as the world-famous Sossusvlei. Formerly there was also
vegetation in the Deadvlei, which tody exist in the form of old dead Kameldornbäumen. The rests of these
old, bony Kameldornbäumen in front of the background of the gigantic dunes and the white ground of the loam
swale give a popular photo motive.
Border on the Deadvlei exist the highest dune of this area with 350 m. With the attempt to climb up to dune,
i felt my physical limit, although I am relatively athletic. The tripod as a walking cane using, i tried to
creep up step by step. I gave up approx. 20 m below the summit, because the relatively bad view in result of
the sand storm the trouble was not worth. Dunes should be climbed always about the dune ridge, all other is
senseless. Attempt the dune to climb up about the acclivity fail, because one does 1 step ahead and 2 steps
Back in the Sossusvlei the surrounding dunes were less difficult climb up and one had a nice overview about
the famous loam swale. By one of the last taxis we drove back to the parking lot and let us from there a lot
of time with the return journey. Now the dunes looked very vividly in the late setting sun and were nicely
to look. Few meters befor the gate some animals crossed our way like Oryxantelope, Sprinbok, Ostrich and a
Jackal. Next morning we repeated this tour towards Sossusvlei, to see the dunes in the morning light and shoot
some photos. The impression was another than in the previous day and also the storm had lain down.
Before we left towards Swakopmund, we still visited the Sesriem Canyon. The Sesriem Canyon is not far from
campground, the way there is described (before the national park-gate to the left). Here the dry river
Tsauchab has trenched deeply in the plain. Six ox's straps were necessary to scoop the water from the
depth, hence the name Sesriem (in german: sechs Riemen). The Canyon is not very long (1 km) and can be
discovered in approx. 1/2 hour.