Soussusvlei Travel Guide: How To Experience The Best Of Namibia

This post may include affiliate links, including Amazon Associate links. I may earn money if you click on one at no extra cost to you.

Soussusvlei, located in Naukluft National Park in Namibia, is home to some of the highest sand dunes on the planet.

Soussusvlei, meaning dead-end-marsh, is one of the places on most visitors must-see lists when they visit Namibia. Along with Etosha, and visiting cheetahs it was certainly on mine.

Petrified trees contast against sand dunes

Why Visit Soussusvlei?

Most visitors, myself included, try to hit the dunes in time to catch the sunrise.  I’m not normally an early riser, but this is  totally worth waking up early for.  The sand dunes turn a golden yellowish-orange as the first rays of sun catch the dunes. I’ve only ever visited the dunes at sunrise, but I’m told they’re far less spectacular later on when the sun is out.  

namibia sossusvlei sand dunes5

Plus it’s much more crowded later on, not to mention hot. Some dune is even a deep red or light pink caused by the large quantity of iron in the sand.   Unlike people  who get more wrinkly as they grow older, sand dunes turn a deeper  red color.  So it’s possible to identify the oldies, just by their color!

Big Daddy – The Famous Dune

The most famous of all the dunes is Big Daddy, measuring in at an incredible 380m – give or take – sand dunes are always a work in process, literally changing form with the wind. Many other dunes measure 200m, which may not seem like much….until you try climbing one to watch the sunrise as I did.

Namibia sossusvlei sand dune1

With each footstep, I sank in mid-calf, even on what appeared to be hard-packed sand. It’s a slog as you lift each foot out, covered with the weight of sand, slowly making your way up the dune.  It’s much harder than it initially looks! Between the uphill slog and my previous misadventures in sandboarding, I learned very quickly how much I had underestimated dunes and developed a new appreciation for them.  

namibia sossusvlei sand dunes3

My jam-packed schedule didn’t allow time to climb Big Daddy.  I felt a mix of relief (it’s hard work) and regret.  Despite the slog, I still would have done it if time had permitted.

Sunrise from the top of a dune overlooking Naukluft National Park

The Life of the Dessert 

You’ll also want to watch out for critters.  Despite many people believing there nothing lives in the desert, that’s a big fat whopping myth!  You can find small reptiles – yep that includes poisonous snakes too, so watch where you step, rodents, jackals, oryxes, springboks, and even ostriches.

namibia sossusvlei sand dunes8

 I saw an ostrich just as we were leaving and some type of wild cat footprints, although the cat itself eluded me.  Guess he didn’t care that I’m a huge cat lover?

Wild cat tracks across the sand in Naukluft National Park
Wild cat tracks across the sand
Sossus Dune Lodge, a great environmentally friendly place to stay in Naukluft National Park
Sossus Dune Lodge, a great environmentally friendly place to stay in Naukluft National Park

Planning Your Visit to Soussusvlei

  • I stayed in the environmentally friendly built Sossus Dunes Lodge, located in Naukluft National Park. I LOVED staying here.  It’s incredibly peaceful here and soooo quiet.  If you’re lucky you will see oryx or springboks grazing in the distance of your very own hut.
  • You will need to visit the dunes via an organized tour, as private vehicles are not allowed in order to minimize the impact on the environment. Sossus Dunes Lodge can arrange a tour on your behalf.
  • I highly recommend the sunrise tour.
  • What else can you do in the area?  I recommend a visit to the nearby Sesriem Canyon, stargazing, or one of the guided nature drives.

The view of Sossusvlei from the top of a dune.

Accommodation near Soussusvlei

Sossusvlei Lodge is located in Sesriem. The 4-Star lodge offers rooms that are tented and include private bathrooms and patios. Enjoy a great breakfast every morning and spend evenings on the terrace that overlooks a floodlit waterhole. Find out from the lodge about available tours such as hot air balloon rides.

We Kebi Safari Lodge is located an hour away from the Sossusvlei Sand Dunes. Tours can be arranged from the property including game drives walks and visiting the sand dunes. The property offers you great panoramic views sof the area and offers excellent cuisine at the restaurant. This safari lodge is the epitome of luxury in the desert, perfect for a romantic getaway. 

Tours in Soussusvlei

Enjoy a 3-day tour of the Soussusvlei region. You will see the highest sand dunes in the world including Dune 45. The tour includes meals and will have your dessert camping. It is a great opportunity to take in the famous sunrise.

Take a tour through Nambia and visit all of the best sites including Soussusvlei. The tour includes accommodation and meals.



Have you been to Sossusvlei? I loved every second of my time in Namibia and Sossusvlei really tested my abilities. All in all, I think it was a unique trip that I would do again.

Hiking for Beginners Online Course >>


hiking for beginners