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Photographer's Note

The Sossusvlei dune and the dried lake below was among the highlights of the trip we just made in Namibia.

Knowing the different inspiring pictures published on trekearth, I had strong expectations about this location and was determined to go there really early. In fact, it was not as easy as I thought. First, the park is not open to public before 6 AM. Second, once you access the entrance, you have to drive a 65km road in the Sesriem valley. It's really nice but when you are looking for the dried lake itself at the end of the road, you are not so happy. Then, the last 4km portion is made of sand and of course, I got stuck in the middle of this portion and got out 30 minutes later thanks to a nice South African family far more experimented than me to get out of sandy dunes. Then, you reach a car park on a deserted area and meet a sign "follow the markers". You are surrunded by dunes but you don't find them of course and when you tell your story later, the guides reply, of yeah, the sand hide them... We should do something about this.

This was the experience I had the first evening we tried to go there. Then, the sun is disappearing and the time you find the right direction, you have to leave the place this there is no one left and you have to reach the gate back the entrance before it closes.

So, the following morning, I made the same trip, but tried to do it in a different spirit. I tried to enjoy any moment as much as I could even if I didn't reach the place at the time I wanted. The light was not low enough probably but I spent a great time discovering the place with my wife and a very nice german couple we met before. The place is absolutely stunning anyway.

Sossusvlei is the dry place you see carved by an old river Tsauchab which got dry in the 19th century. It makes a nice contrast with the high dunes around which are made of the red sand from the Kalahari desert. The highest dune around is along this place and is 380m high. Because of the sun, the plain colors and the heat (56 C in the sun by the way at 12:00 AM), it's difficult to be aware of this but it's higher than the Eiffel tower. That dune is called "Big Daddy" and we climbed it partially before walking down the salty surface.

Here, it is the Dune 45, located 45 km from the entrance of the parc at Sesriem. This is one of the most famous dune because it's the closest one from the road, so the easiest one to reach.

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Additional Photos by Steven Le Vourc'h (Curioso) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 551 W: 273 N: 1552] (9271)
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