Namibia – Been There

Sossusvlei: a masterpiece by Mother Nature

That’s not an orange sky behind the pair of springbok – it is one of Sossusvlei’s many sand dunes. Though one of the largest animals to make a home in Sossusvlei, the springbok are hardly alone. Numerous species of birds, insects, and reptiles live amid the sands here, each specifically adapted to living in  a world with very little water.

Photo by Jochem Wijnands

Namibia – Been There

Sossusvlei: a masterpiece by Mother Nature

Namibia’s Sossusvlei is, without embellishment, one of the ten most beautiful places on this planet.

Daphne Huineman
Daphne Huineman Travel Writer

It’s also easy to get to. And, like the rest of Namibia, it is practically deserted. As before, we’re joined by a handful of other travelers. Sossusvlei is a massive salt basin surrounded by the highest sand dunes in the world, which are sculpted into new forms daily by the strong winds. The jewel in the crown is Dode Vlei (Dead Valley), a white salt basin surrounded by black carbonized trees, witnesses of a more sultry time and the backdrop for many a TV commercial.

We stretch out in the shadow of a sand dune and familiarize ourselves with the desert community. Blue beetles (tok-tokkies) struggle through the orange sand, on the run from the Namaqua chameleon, which is on a 200-a-day tok-tokkie diet. A viper elegantly flicks itself sideways up one of the dunes. We decide to follow its lead and brave our fear of heights. Out of breath and a little anxious, we reach the narrow peak of a relatively small sand dune, wind blasting through our ears. With our goal firmly achieved, we resolve to return to the bottom. Taking a deep breath, we plunge down the slope, and roll through the glowing sand for what seems like minutes.

If there was ever a moment where we felt at one with the earth, it’s this one.

The minimalism of sand and sky lends a picturesque touch to the bare landscape of the Sossusvlei on...

The minimalism of sand and sky lends a picturesque touch to the bare landscape of the Sossusvlei on the southern end of the Namib Desert. The name is a blend of Afrikaans and Nama and roughly translates as ’the marsh of no return’ – which is ironic given that it is one of Namibia’s more popular tourist attractions. Photo by Jochem Wijnands

Jochem Wijnands

Jochem Wijnands

Nikon D2x

Aperture
ƒ/16
Exposure
1/500
ISO
160
Focal
20 mm

The minimalism of sand and sky lends a picturesque touch to the bare landscape of the Sossusvlei on the southern end of the Namib Desert. The name is a blend of Afrikaans and Nama and roughly translates as ’the marsh of no return’ – which is ironic given that it is one of Namibia’s more popular tourist attractions.

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