Situated in the middle of the towering red sand dunes of Sossusvlei is Deadvlei, the mysterious clay pan characterised by dark, dead camel thorn trees which continue to remain standing despite the fact that they’ve been dead for 600 years and more. To get to Deadvlei, you need to walk about half an hour from the carpark area over a few low dunes. Soon enough, you’ll see the large open expanse in front of you. It’s a photographer’s paradise here and in the early hours of the day it’s not unusual to spot eager photographers congregated across the pan, shooting the sunlight as it slowly engulfs the pan.
Aside from photographers, there are often groups of tourists arriving before dawn to scale the high dunes surrounding the pan. If you look ever so closely at the image above, you can see three hikers already near the top! If you’re thinking of climbing dunes, it’s best to go early in the morning as it can get extremely hot here.
Being in the middle of Deadvlei opens you up to a whole new meaning to the word ‘silence’. Silence is nothing like silence in a built-up city. I couldn’t believe how silent it could be until I was walking to Deadvlei by myself in the early hours of one morning. If you stop for a minute, there is barely a noise you can hear. There are no birds, engines or exhaust pipes, ringing phones or the sound of every day routines. It’s the best place to sit still and really be still.
Here are some more images of this surreal landscape..
If you’re up for staying up late, star photography in Deadvlei is also a crazy, surreal experience. A special permit is needed to stay past dark and if you can get it, it’s definitely worth it. There’s no light pollution here so the Milky Way is so easy to see and capture. Namibia was my first time shooting stars and I had so much fun experimenting with this style of photography. I really can’t wait to do it again.