We took a leap of faith with Sossusvlei: when leaving Lüderitz, we called the Sesriem campsite in Sossusvlei but all places (apparently even the overflow places) were booked. Still, we decided to leave for there anyway. Sossusvlei is probably the most touristic attraction of whole Namibia, therefore it is always recommended to book in advance… We did try to book a spot, but we did not want to wait four days for the next available booking. After yet another long long drive, we arrived there in the late afternoon. And of course all places were full, but our argument that we only had a tiny tent somehow worked. Having a spot in the national park camp allowed us to leave for the dunes before sunrise (otherwise we would only be allowed to enter the park after sunrise).
We arrived just in time to eat, to set our tent up and to enjoy the last sunlight on the nearby Elim Dune (~45min to reach the top of the dune).
The next morning, we woke up at 5am in order to leave shortly after. We postponed breakfast to later and we quickly colapsed the tent and threw it in the car. After nearly an hour of driving and hiking up Dune 45, we made it just in time to see the sunrise from the top of the dune.
This dune also offers a nice view on the valley through which we still had to drive to get to the main dunes:
When we reached the 2×4 parking (due to the last kilometers only being a sand road it is closed for 2×4 cars) we finally had our breakfast before hiking to the Big Daddy dune (in the background of the picture below). To the bottom of the dune the hike was still quite easy but the sun had reached its peak and was burning down relentlessly while we were working our way up the mountain of sand for about an hour.
The top however was amazing, a light breeze of wind cooled us down and the view across the endless red dunes was breathtaking.
The way down was super easy and took only a couple of minutes. So much fun!
After decending the main face of the Big Daddy Dune, we arrived at the Dead Vlei, a surreal, dry and white flat area in the midst of the red dunes with nearly black, dead trees scattered across one half of this area.
The most painful part of the hike however was to walk back to the parking in the biggest heat of the day in the early afternoon. Most people take the shuttle bus from the 2×4 parking to the dunes and back, but we wanted to save a few bucks and went on by foot. We managed, had lunch back at the car, used the campground once again for a refreshing swim in the pool and filled up the car before setting out again – this time direction Walvis Bay.