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Deadvlei in Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia with Nomad Tours – Day 5

Deadvlei is eerily beautiful.


After hiking Dune 45, we enjoyed a breakfast of eggs, bacon, and cereal in the middle of the Namib Desert thanks to Mxolisi’s ability to make breakfast for 23 out of a minimalistic kitchen on a truck.  A wonder in itself.


We arrive in Deadvlei after a short drive.  “Vlei” means “marsh” in Afrikaans and so the name means Dead Marsh.




Once this area was flooded by the Tsauchab River and acacia trees grew.  Eventually, massive sand dunes, some of the tallest in the world, blocked the incoming water killing the acacia trees growing there.


It is estimated that the trees were 300 years-old at the time of their death and that was 900 years ago.  Now, they still stand, scorched but preserved because of the arid desert climate.


What a vision.  Photos below.


Disclaimer: Nomad Tours offered me a discount in exchange for documentation of the experience.  I have complete freedom to share my thoughts.  All opinions are my own.


Official Itinerary from Nomad Tours

This is our earliest morning as we prepare for our hike up Dune 45 to marvel at the sunrise. After our hike, we will have the chance to visit Sossusvlei. Later we join a local expert on a guided hike and learn more about the unique desert ecosystem and how the Bushmen survived in the harsh desert conditions.

Namib-Naukluft National Park

Namib-Naukluft National Park is an ecological preserve in the Namib Desert. It is the largest game park in Africa, covering about 50 000 square km and a surprising collection of creatures survives in the hyper-arid region, including snakes, geckos, unusual insects, hyenas, gemsbok and jackals. Most of the life here is sustained by sea mists from the Atlantic and sporadic rainfall. The winds that bring in the fog are also responsible for creating the park’s towering sand dunes, whose burnt orange color is a sign of their age. The color develops over time as iron in the sand is oxidized, like rusty metal; the older the dune, the brighter the color. These dunes are the tallest in the world; the most famous of which is Dune 45, which reaches more than 170 m. The dunes were numbered to make the area easier to navigate and coincidentally Dune 45 is 45 km from Sesriem Canyon.

‘Namib’ means open space in the local Nama language and the Namib Desert gave its name to form Namibia – “land of open spaces”. The park was established in 1907 by the German Colonial Administration. The park’s present boundaries were established in 1978 by the merging of the Namib Desert Park, the Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park, parts of Diamond Area 1 and some other bits of surrounding government land.

The Park includes Sossusvlei, a clay pan in the central Namib Desert, fed by the Tsauchab River and known for the high, red sand dunes which surround it, forming a vast sand ocean.


Photos of Deadvlei:

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