The Sossusvlei Dunes and the Sesriem Canyon
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  • Longitude: 15.799943
  • Latitude: -24.518451
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The Sossusvlei Dunes and the Sesriem Canyon

Sesriem is the "Gateway to Sossusvlei". It is a small village called after a natural canyon carved by the Tsauchab rivier in the local sedimentary rock, about a kilometre long and up to 30 meters deep. 

The name Sesriem is Afrikaans and means "six belts", given by settlers returning from the Dorsland Trek who had to attach together six belts (made of ox hides) in order to reach buckets down into the canyon to scoop up water.

The Sesriem Canyon is only two metres wide in some places, and has a portion that permanently contains water, which many animals use.

The spectacular Sossusvlei area is an icon of Namibia's natural beauty. The area consist of sand dunes and salt vleis. The vleis were created by the dunes preventing the flow of the Tsauchab River towards the sea.

The Vlei seldomly receive any inflow of water but when it happens it it is a very popular tourist attraction.

Some of the dunes reach 400 meters in height and offer wonderful photo opportunities especially early mornings and late afternoons.

You will find the 85 meters high Dune 45 on your left after about 44kms from the Sesriem Campsite gate. Visitors are allowed to climb the dune and will be treated to magnificent views of the Vlei from this vantage point.

15km further on is the parking area where 4x2 vehicles should be left. You can then either hike 5 km along a sandy track to Sossusvlei, Deadvlei and the Hidden Vlei or take one of the shuttles. Persons with 4x4 vehicles can continue to the parking at the vlei.

Despite the aridity, some of the dunes have much vegetation thanks to underground water and occasional flooding.

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