Camping within the park allows us to see the spectacular colours of Dune 45 at sunrise. Stand atop the huge ‘Big Daddy’ sand dune after a desert hike. Sit by the fire watching the stars of the desert sky before retiring to your tent. Visit the renowned Dead Vlei and Sossusvlei ancient lake beds in the middle of the desert with scattered skeleton camel thorn trees dating back over 1,000 years.
The word “Namib” comes from the native tongue of the South African Nama, meaning “vast place”. In a land of giant sand dunes, sprawling clay pans and scattered mountain outcrops, no more of an adequate description can be made – however it’s not just the geology that embodies this vastness, the sheer beauty that hides in this dry part of the world offers a wide sweeping beauty too. It’s in those precious moments where the sun first kisses the dunes, painting colours across the landscape as it opens up new spectrums of beauty in the sand. It’s in those evenings in the canyons, watching the tiny geckos scurry across the rocks to hunt down bugs for their dinner. It’s under the stars, listening to the wild jackals call to their family members as the cool air sets in.
Breakfast Included: 2 Lunches Included: 3 Dinner Included: 2
Welcome to Namibia – home to sprawling clay pans, giant sand dunes and some of the most stunning desert landscapes that the world has to offer. This camping adventure begins after you’re collected from your accommodation between 8 am and 8.30 am, after which begins the drive to Sesirem in the Namibian Desert. The long road takes the group on a trip past the towering Eros and Naukluft Mountains, passing along scenic roads on the way to the south-western desert. As we drive down from Namibia’s central plateau through Remhoogte pass, witness the open plains surrounding the tiny settlement of Solitaire before pushing on past grass savannah and farmland. The road opens up to the immense Namibian sand dunes, glowing and shifting in colour as they stretch well into the sky.
Tonight’s stay, the Sesriem Camping site, is located conveniently at the entrance to Sossusvlei. The site is only a short drive away from Sesriem Canyon and sits right beside the gateway to the desert. It offers the perfect view for campers who want to see the sun setting over the Elim dune, followed by the countless stars that flood the night sky before the sound of geckos barking and the distant howl of the jackals begin. Sit by the fire and listen to the opera of the desert before turning in for the night.
Sossusvlei / Sesriem
After a good night’s rest, awake before dawn and travel to Soussusvlei. Scale the sand dunes by foot and watch the colours change as the sun rises over the horizon, coating the land with warmth and colour. The day comes into full swing with a walk into the heart of the dune field, travelling to Soussusvlei by foot (5 km / 3.1 miles). Landscape photo opportunities are abundant in this region as the cool of the morning juxtaposed with the shadows and light on the dunes make for excellent snapping conditions. Ancient mineral pans, stunted camel thorn trees and the chance to watch roaming gemsbok or ostriches are all native to the area – keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready!
The morning rolls on, as does the opportunity to discover some iconic and truly unforgettable Namibian Desert scenery. Wandering the landscape in and around Soussusvlei leads to the nearby Dune 45, a 170 metre (558 feet) tall star dune consisting of five million year old sand. More exploration brings the group to Hidden Vlei, Big Daddy and Dead Vlei, an ancient clay pan that once stood as an oasis before the river that fed it changed course. After 900 years, the trees that stood here still remain – completely drained of moisture, desiccated and standing like blackened sentinels that dot the cracked surface of the pan.
As the day wears on, head to Sesriem for a lunch away from the heat of the afternoon. As the heat fades away and the evening rolls in, take a short excursion to Sesriem Canyon; a natural canyon carved by the Tsauchab River in the local sedimentary rock. Stony walls rise up sharply on both sides of the canyon, while birds roost in its crags and lizards dart along the ledges. The canyon’s name was coined when early settlers used it as a water source, using six lengths of leather (‘ses riem’ – six thongs) tied together to lower buckets into the water at the base of canyon.
After breakfast, the return journey to Windhoek begins with a 450 km drive (280 miles) along a different route than before. Ascend the massive Gamsberg Pass in the Khomas Hochland Mountain Range on the way back to civilisation, taking in the stunning views of the Kuiseb river as you travel along the ‘Garden Route of Namibia’. The vehicle arrives at Windhoek in the late afternoon / early evening, and you will be dropped off at your accommodation upon return.