Spectacular by day and magical by night, Sossusvlei boasts the highest sand dunes in the world, with no two days ever the same as the wind constantly reshapes and reforms them. Lying within the Namib-Naukluft National Park, it is a huge clay pan enclosed by these giant sand dunes, some of which are 300 metres high. Only after a heavy rainfall, a rare event in these parts, does the pan fill with water.
Stargazing at night is made perfect by the clear skies. With no city lights or pollution of any kind, the expansive skies are crammed with stars. During the day, gaze down below at a landscape that changes all the time from a hot air balloon, a truly unforgettable experience. Photographers have long been fascinated by this extraordinary subject matter – a truly dynamic environment.
The majestic Gemsbok, the iconic symbol of Namibia, have adapted remarkably to the harsh environment and can go months without water. When the rains fall, the Gemsbok migrate to the fresh grasses downstream joining the Springbok and other desert dwellers in what is a magnificent sight to behold. The dunes are resplendent in colour as the red hue of the iron oxide mingles with the garnet particles in the sand.
It has been said that the dunes were formed by residual sand from the mighty Orange River whch carried along Africa’s western coast and deposited in the Atlantic Ocean, only to moved back on land centuries later. When visiting Sossusvlei, one gets a feel for this vastness of time and space and the inner reflection that the dunes encourage are wonderfully therapeutic.