If you have any interest in Namibia then you probably have heard of Sossusvlei. Sossusvlei is very important to me, as I have worked in the area around Sossusvlei for about six and a half years. I have done about 800 Sossusvlei excursions over the years.

Sossusvlei is really just a flood pan in the middle of a huge dune field. The Namib Sand Sea is a big dune field, stretching some 34,000 sq kilometers on the Namibian coast line, starting south of Walvis Bay, and heading south as far as the town of Luderitz.

On the eastern side the dune field is blocked by the eastern margin of the desert, where runoff from the mountains forms a significant block for the dune field from moving further east.

But runoff from the bigger mountains also create rivers. The Tsauchab river heads westwards into the dune field. It helps to maintain a huge gap in the dune field. This gap runs about half way across the dune field.

Sossusvlei is situated in the Namib Naukluft Park, a huge national park that includes the fast majority of the Namib Sand Sea. To travel to Sossusvlei, travelers go in the park at Sesriem. About half way in, the dunes along both sides of the valley, now about 4 kilometers apart, have long ridges reaching into the valley. These dune ridges reach up to more than 200 meters strait up from the ground. This leads to a claim by many that they are the highest dunes in the world. Perhaps not, but they are fantastic to see. The dunes have a red color that changes through the day.

The dune field is also interesting because it is full of life. The Namib Desert, in which Sossusvlei and the Namib Sand Sea are situated, is often referred to as the living desert. Small things, such as lizards and beetles are all specifically addapted to their own desert niches, and even larger animals like Oryx, have curved out a living in this beautiful desert!
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