Images of Deadvlei are famous all over the world for the stark contrasts that they portray. Here, twisted black acacias reach into a cloudless sky against a backdrop of ochre dunes.
Deadvlei is just one of the attractions found in the Sossusvlei area of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. It is located close to the Sossusvlei salt pan about 65km from the Sesriem Gate. This incredible wilderness area is found about 402km from Swakopmund and 5 hour’s drive from Windhoek.
The name Deadvlei is an apt description of this shallow pan, which is in fact a dried-up marshland (‘vlei’ is an Afrikaans word for ‘marsh’).
This shallow depression between the high dunes of the Sossusvlei was once a flood plain, filled with overflow from the Tsauchab River. In this moist environment, camel thorn trees took root and flourished, until the marsh dried up leaving them to die of thirst.
The exceptionally dry climate of this region prevents the trees from decaying and they have stood there as a memento of more abundant times ever since. Most of these trees are between 900 and 1 000 years old.
The only accommodation options within the Namib-Naukluft, are rustic campsites with ablutions, braai areas and basic kitchen facilities. These are ideal for those wanting to get away from it all, to immerse themselves in outdoor explorations by day and exceptional stargazing at night.
On the outskirts of the National Park, there are a range of budget and luxurious Namibian accommodations offering self-drive or guided day trips into the park.
These perimeter lodges and camps are well-geared towards children, with amusing entertainment and activities designed for younger guests. Most of them have swimming pools and playgrounds and many offer supervised programs to introduce youngsters to the marvels of nature.
Likewise, group bookings and conferences are welcomed at these establishments. Special packages, transfers, bulk accommodation and menus are easily arranged through a tour operator or at the time of booking.
Guided trips to Deadvlei usually form part of a larger guided tour into the Sossusvlei. During these excursions, experienced guides will bring your surroundings to life with their animated descriptions of the sights and history of the area.
Self-guided tours are another option for those who prefer to take their own time exploring. Namibia’s highest and oldest dunes surround the Deadvlei and offer an excellent chance to admire the landscape from an elevated perspective.
You can also take fauna and flora-based guided outings which highlight the interesting life forms found here.
Photographers will want to spend some time capturing these unique scenes from every possible angle.
Wining & Dining
The closest restaurants to Deadvlei are found at the surrounding lodges or at the nearby Sossusvlei Oasis.
Fauna and Flora
Sparse rainfall, extreme desert temperatures and the dense Atlantic fog mean that all the creatures of the Deadvlei have had to adapt or die.
Camel thorn trees manage to survive along hidden underground watercourses and large yellow Nara melons survive on what they can glean from the earth with their deep root systems.
Toktokkie beetles, Namib Dune Ants and Namib Dune Geckos are also found here along with a few larger animals such as gemsbok, ostrich and springbok. Nocturnal species like bat-eared foxes, black-backed jackals and porcupines are rarely seen.
Rueppell’s Bustard, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Dune Lark, Kopje Warbler, Black-eared Sparrow-Lark, and Karoo Thrush are among the species of bird which survive here.
Drinking water and sun protection are essentials for travelling in the Sossusvlei. Good walking shoes, binoculars and a camera will make your trip more enjoyable. You will also need memory cards or a laptop to save your photographs.
Driving – You can get to the Sesriem entrance of Sossusvlei from Windhoek along the B1 and D854 or from Swakopmund via the C14.
Once you are inside the park, there is a 65km tar road which encompasses all the main sites. Deadvlei is clearly indicated a just after the Dune 45 Lookout Point and is a short walk from the parking area.
By Air: Charter flights operate from Eros Airport in Namibia to airstrips at Sossusvlei Lodge, Sesriem, Geluk Kuala Lodge and Sossusvlei Moun Airport.
Transfers: Transfers with private operators are available from any of the above airstrips or from Windhoek to your accommodation in Sossusvlei.
If you’re planning to visit Namibia, Sossusvlei and Deadvlei should be right up there on your list along with Etosha National Park and the Skeleton Coast. Click here to see nearby accommodation options.
For more information or to book your trip to Deadvlei in Namibia, pop Namibia Travel Guide a message via our contact us page, and we will gladly assist you.
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.