Sossusvlei – Our Namibian Desert & Dunes Adventure
During our nine days Namibia South Africa Train Safari with Rovos Rail, we had the chance to visit one of the most spectacular sights of Namibia, the dunes and desert of Sossusvlei. To get there is a real African adventure on itself which starts with a bus drive from the Pride of Africa train to the Namibian capital city Windhoek early in the morning. After a short city tour visiting the Independence Memorial Museum, we arrived at the Eros Airport for our one hour flight to the Sossusvlei Dunes in the Namib Desert.
Our handsome South African pilot from the private charter airline Desert Air brought us safe and sound over the changing landscape to our final destination for today, the entrance gate of Namib-Naukluft National Park at Sesriem. From there, it was just a short drive through the sand to our accommodation, the Sossusvlei Lodge at the gates of the Namibian National Park, our base for the next two days exploring Sossusvlei, Deadvlei, the surrounding savannah nature and the dinner under the Milky Way. Join Couple of Men on their two days Sossusvlei Dunes Namib Desert adventure in Southern Africa and enjoy the unique and spectacular views from Big Daddy dune over the dead trees of Deadvlei.
Our trip to Sossusvlei
Back onboard the train after our safari in Etosha National Park, we had a rough second night due to some pretty bumpy rail tracks. But that’s actually part of the experience adding an exciting touch to our Southern Africa adventure. Short nights ensure long days of adventures, right? No time to waste anyway since Namibia has some seriously spectacular natural wonders to offer. Among them, the dunes and desert of Sossusvlei. But in order to get there, we had to go on our next Southern African adventure in Namibia.
Starting at the Atlantic Coast of Namibia, we boarded the Rovos Rail Pride of Africa luxury train making its way through Namibia and South Africa to Pretoria. Our story about our Southern African adventure from Walvis Bay to Pretoria now on our gay couple travel blog!
From Windhoek to Sesriem
The next day early in the morning, we arrived in Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. And already on our fourth morning, we had developed quite an efficient routine to get ready for breakfast and pack our Rovos backpacks for the day. And off we went by bus for a short city tour around Namibia’s capital city with a stop at the Train Museum in Windhoek and the Independence Memorial Museum before arriving at Eros Airport for our one hour flight into the desert.
Our handsome South African pilot from the private charter airline Desert Air brought us safe and sound over the changing landscape of the Kalahari Desert to our final destination for today, the Namib-Naukluft National Park. The one-hour flight was a real adventure on its own with bumpy drops and spectacular views of the Namib desert out of a 10 person propeller-driven plane. But our handsome pilot knew his way.
Sossusvlei Lodge & Bungalow 127
Happy and excited – We arrived at our accommodation for the day, the Sossusvlei Lodge at the gates of the Namibian National Park. There are just a couple of accommodations to be found around that area but all have one very special thing in common: the close connection to the desert and its unique and beautiful animals. We stayed at the Sossusvlei Lodge in bungalow number 127 that offered everything we needed for one night including a spectacular view over the savannah and a frequently visited waterhole. And there, what was that? A couple of Oryx and Gnus just walked by our sweet little terrace towards the water. It was brutally hot outside but there was nothing that could have a negative impact on our mood.
After a break of three hours, it was time to board the safari cars of the lodge for our first nature drive into the hills surrounding the area. The sun was just about to set giving literally everything a very special, red-orange glimmer. Just like we have always imagined African nature to look like. Overwhelmingly beautiful. We found our favorite spot on top of some stunning rock formations overlooking the pan, the savannah, the mountains, and the spectacular sunset.
Desert Dinner under the Milky Way
Nothing could have topped this moment today. At least, that’s what we thought. On our way back to the Sossusvlei lodge in our open Safari cars, we suddenly stopped and turned off the lights. Our driver told us, that we were supposed to do a small walk for some hidden night game spot. Whispering and pretty excited we started walking into the night. What we discovered after walking around a little hill left us speechless! The Sossusvlei Lodge together with Rovos Rail arranged an open-air dinner under the uncountable stars of the Milky Way with local music, tasteful food including local delicates like Kudu, Oryx, Zebra and wonderful Southern African wines. We seriously had to pinch each other and ourselves if all of it was real and we were not dreaming… What a day!
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The Dunes of Sossusvlei
Back in our lodge, we fell asleep almost instantly due to all the impressions, surprises, and amazing things we experienced today, but not for long. The next morning started again very, very early. Packed into some pretty thick sweaters, jackets, and warming blankets offered by our handsome African drivers, the safari cars set a course into the National Park, into the desert of Sossusvlei. Surrounded by dunes, that are numbered by the distance to the main gate in kilometers, it took us almost one hour before we finally arrived at one of the most spectacular natural wonders we have ever encountered on our gay travels together. Soaked in sun lotion and equipped with several bottles of water, we started our exhausting hike up the dune named Big Daddy, the highest dune in this area and with more than 320 meters one of the highest dunes in the world. With every step up the dune, the wind became stronger and the sand was literally getting everywhere in our ears, eyes, pockets, and, of course, shoes. But the view, the view was worth every single sand corn and every tear caused by the brutal wind. Nothing could have stopped us now, despite the time limit.
The Dead Trees of Deadvlei
We could have walked back where we came from, but we decided to just take the short cut running down the back of the Big Daddy dune right into Deadvlei, a dry salt lake full of mystical grey and black dead acacia trees (please don’t touch them, they are pretty fragile). The photo opportunities down there are endless. Our tip is to make sure to plan enough time for your Sossusvlei and Deadvlei adventure to really be able to have enough time for everything, thus start your day early. The cherry on top of this experience was the breakfast organized under a huge old savannah tree right in front of the actual Sossusvlei pan. Back at the Sossusvlei Lodge, we had a short moment to refresh before our flight back to Windhoek. Since then, we are looking at our photos almost daily, memorizing the intense impression the sandy dunes of the Sossusvlei region left behind…
Good to know about Sossusvlei Dunes at the Namib Desert
Don’t forget to bring drinking water, sun lotion, binoculars, a sun hat and, of course, your camera. Please be aware of the sandy wind and prepare your camera equipment accordingly. On your way to Big Daddy and the actual Sossusvlei Pan, you will pass a toilet and restroom stop approximately 5 minutes for the parking area at Big Daddy. This is the only official spot in this area. Please use it and don’t pollute the fragile natural environment.
Last but not least, dress accordingly, since especially during the early morning, it can be too cold if you are just in your shorts and shirts while it will be super hot during the day. And now, enjoy planning your trip to Namibia, Etosha National Park and the rest of Southern Africa!
Karl & Daan.