In the vicinity of the park entrance to Sossusvlei the Tsauchab River has dug a cleft - about two kilometres long and up to 30 metres deep - into the deposits of sand and pebbles which are roughly 15 million years old. The name ‘ses rieme’ means that in earlier years ‘six thongs’ from an ox-wagon team had to be knotted together to lower a pail into the water of the gorge.
The entrance gate to the most famous part of the Dune Namib is located at Sesriem. From there it is still another good hour’s driving to Sossusvlei. 'Gathering place of water' the Nama called this place Sossusvlei. And indeed amongst the high dunes of the enormous sand sea there is a clay pan, which was clearly formed by water. The pan only fills up once within several years, though, when there has been sufficient rain in the catchment area of the Tsauchab. Usually Sossusvlei is totally dry. The famous star dunes of Sossusvlei tower around the depression, the most beautiful ones early in the morning and late in the afternoon when light and shadow create a more three-dimensional appearance of the landscape. Only from the top will you experience the sheer size of the dunes, and your effort will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the sand sea. At Sossusvlei you will come across sign boards showing the way to another two depressions which are well worth a visit: ‘Dead Vlei’, a dry pan with lumps of clay and dead camelthorn, and secluded little-known ‘Nara Vlei’.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Sesriem, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to Africa