Namibia – That time I visited and climbed the red sand dunes of Sossusvlei in the southern part of the Namib Desert, in Namibia.
The name Sossusvlei is often used to refer to the surrounding area such as Deadvlei and other high dunes found here too. Characterised by their vivid pink-to-orange colour, indicating a high concentration of iron in the sand, the oldest dunes are those with a more intense reddish colour.
These dunes are said to be among the highest in the world; many of them above 200 metres with the highest nicknamed Big Daddy, about 380 metres high. The highest and more stable dunes are partially covered with a relatively rich vegetation, which is mainly watered by a number of underground rivers that seasonally flood the pans, creating marshes or vleis. When dry, these pans look almost white in colour, due to the high concentration of salt.
Another relevant source of water for Sossusvlei is the humidity brought by the daily morning fog that floats across from the Atlantic Ocean.
We drove out from Little Kulala Lodge where we were staying for three nights and walked up to the top to take in the unbelievable views of the greater Namib-Naukluft National Park. Shoes filled with sand, a chill of wind on the air, yet the sand was warm to the touch. Despite the harsh desert conditions, we spotted a wide variety of plants and animals, like tiny darting lizards and many birds, that have adapted to survive here.