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Most parts of the Namib-Naukluft Park (50.000 square kilometers) are not accessible to man. One can only visit a small stretch north of the Kuiseb river: the Naukluft Mountains and the Sossusvlei in the central dune fields.

Dead vlei - Namib desert

Close to Sossusvlei, Namibia's famous highlight in the heart of the Namib Desert, is the Dead Vlei, a huge clay pan, surrounded by giant sand dunes.

Some of the spectacular walls of sand are at a height of 300 metres, the highest in the world.

Dead Vlei is a large expanse of bleached cracked clay where skeletal camel-thorn trees still stand erect. The trees, dead from lack of water, survived for 300 years before dunes finally blocked the floods.

The whiteness of the Dead Vlei contrasts strongly with the surroundings of huge orange-red dunes, creating superb photographic opportunities.

Dead Vlei - Sossuvlei, in the Namib desert

Only after a heavy rainfall, which occurs apparently only once in every 10 years, the vlei is filled with water.

As the water can barely infiltrate the clay layers, visitors have then a chance to see for some time the amazing view of a turquoise lake in the middle of the desert.


Grandiose landscapes, desert and lot of space