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Sossusvlei: pools of water in the dunes

One of the major attractions of Namib-Naukluft National Park is represented by the occasional water pools of Sossusvlei surrounded by the tall red sand dunes of Namib Desert. Because the colorful contrast between the water, the soil of the vlei, white and cracked from aridity, and the intense orange color of the sand dunes around it, Sossusvlei is one of the most photographed spot of southern Africa.

Sossusvlei is a ephemeral water pool formed by the river Tsauchab only during particularly intense rains, in these cases the waters of the river can reach the area of Sossusvlei, but here enormous sand dunes, which reaches 200 meters height, prevent the water to reach the Atlantic Ocean, which is only at 80 km.

Then stagnant water pools forming Sossusvlei, the name that comes from the Afrikaans “vlei” indicating “marsh”, and nama language word “sossus” which means “no return” or “river blind”, with reference to the fact that the waters of the Tsauchab are lost in the Namib Desert.

Sossusvlei, Namib Desert, Namib-Naukluft, Namibia. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini..

Sossusvlei, Namib Desert, Namib-Naukluft, Namibia. Author Marco Ramerini..

The fauna of Sossusvlei consists primarily of small animals (especially reptiles and arthropods) adapted to the extremely arid climate, in the period in which water is present the region is populated by an abundant bird life, water indeed attract acquatic birds and wildlife.

In Sossusvlei you can climb on foot to the top of the sand dunes, from where the panorama is breathtaking: the small pool of water reflects the dunes of the desert and dunes all around indefinitely, changing forms and colors with the changing of the position of the sun.

The road inside the park that leads to Sossusvlei has recently been asphalted for most of its route, the paved road ends at the parking lot for cars 2×4, hence, continue only with the 4×4 or with the transport service fee along the last 5 km to Sossusvlei.

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