7th to 14th March – Sesriem / Sossusvlei / Dead Vlei / Hidden Vlei
Another long six hour drive to Sesriem. We are staying 5 nights at the NWR Sossus Dune Lodge. NWR Resorts are giving a 70% discount for March! Wow – that’s some deal. Thank you NWR!
The good thing about staying at this lodge is that we are able to travel to Sossusvlei (some 60 kms) well before the gates open. Most mornings we leave around 5.30 a.m.
We have booked the “honeymoon suite”……..not knowing it’s over a 500m walk from the main building. The rooms also face directly west; so afternoons are not spent in the room or on the outside deck as they are like a sauna. Fortunately there’s a nice pool, the food is good and friendly staff that can’t do enough to make us welcome.
We’re here mainly to experience the sights and grandeur of the colossal, mountainous red sand dunes of the Sossusvlei. Nothing really prepares you for the sight of these dunes. Choose your Superlative adjective – spectacle, evocative, spellbinding, awesome, breathtaking, otherworldly……they all fit.
Suffice to say that the sight of the dunes, for me, is right up there with Africa’s most iconic sights like Victoria Falls, Table Mountain, Okavango Delta, The Great Rift Valley, Ngorgogoro, The Pyramids etc etc.
The Sossusvlei is an ancient river course that has been cut off over a millennia by the advancing sand dunes. It actually flowed earlier this year for the first time in about 30 years due to the unusual voluminous rain. Dead Vlei and Hidden Vlei have both been completely cut off and are surrounded by huge sand dunes on every side.
I think the photos do the rest of the talking. We spent the first morning at Dead Vlei and the late afternoon and sunset at Elim Dune with its beautiful views of the mountains across the rare yellow grasses (from all the recent rains).
The following days are spent at Sossusvlei (at sunrise and sunset), we also make a second trip to Dead Vlei.
I did get lucky with the wildlife. On a one occasion I managed capture images of the dunes in perfect light, with a herd of Gemsbok at the base of the dune. It provides a powerful perspective to the scale of the dunes. On another occasion, I was setting up my tripod when I heard a noise behind me. It was an inquisitive female Gemsbok and her calf!
I’d been wishing to find Hidden Vlei for quite some time. It’s an almost 3km walk to get there; which puts a lot of people off. We arrived very early, in the dark and were rewarded by having the whole place to ourselves for the duration of the morning. Being completely alone in this vast wilderness with just the sound of the wind is quite an experience. So glad we made the effort.