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The sand dunes of Sossusvlei are just magnificent, potentially the highest in the world. 
One of the most spectacular landscapes in Namibia, the Sossusvlei pan is situated where the Tsauchab River disappears into the white clay at the foot of monumental sand dunes.
Sossusvlei is a mud pan created by a river that flows through the Namib every 5 to 10 years. Even in very wet years it does not reach the Atlantic Ocean but drains away between the dunes of Sossusvlei. Sossus means "place of no return".

Dead Vlei
The mud from the river stacks up at Sossusvlei and after some 1000 years the river searches its way through the next row of dunes. This is how the place called Dead Vlei was created, here the river used to drain away many years ago. Because of the lack of water all the trees in this valley have died, so the meaning of "Dead Vlei" becomes clear.

What makes the sight of the Dead Vlei so remarkable is that there is not even moisture enough for normal decomposition to occur. So all the trees here, though dead, have been nearly perfectly preserved for centuries.

At the entry to Sossusvlei is Sesriem Canyon. As a result of erosion over many centuries, a narrow gorge of about one kilometre in length was formed about 30 to 40 metres deep. Early explorers had to tie six lengths of thongs together to draw water from the pools in the canyon, hence the name "Sesriem".



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Sossusvlei Map

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