The Namib Desert has the oldest and most evocative desert scenery in the world. Witnessing the changing colours of the shifting sands gleaming in vibrant reds and oranges at sunrise and sunset is one of country’s quintessential experiences. While it is the towering dunes that most people come to see, Sossusvlei itself is actually the pan (vlei) or valley floor that you will park on. The ever-changing landscape of gravel plains, rugged canyons, towering walls of volcanic rock and vast dune seas forms one of the world’s most striking, well-preserved and easily accessible deserts, and is well worth the effort of getting there.
Sossusvlei itself is 65 km from the park gate along a paved road. It’s worth stopping at the photogenic Dune 45 (coincidentally, 45 km from the gate) and climbing to the top for the view of the surrounding dune sea. Depending on fitness, it takes 20-40 minutes to reach the main ridge. This is a lovely spot to watch the sun rise to the east in the early morning or setting over the dunes to the west in the evening. On clear days your view over the dune sea extends to around 100 km in all directions.