Deadvlei: (Dead Marsh)
Roots embedded in a textured white clay pan, surrounded by towering of red sand dunes. It is renowned for its dark mysterious trees, a photographer’s dream, this is Deadvlei. This spectacular area of the Namib-Nakluft National park is one of the most photographed landscapes of Sossusvlei area.
It is 10h30am and Deadvlei is heating up. After a gruelling climb in the sun, the reward for climbing Big Daddy Dune, was exploring DeadVlei. This was our last stop in the desert for the morning. Shaking the dune sand out of our boots, I step barefoot onto the cool bright white clay pan. It lies in between the towering red dunes of Sossusvlei and there is no shade from the savage desert sun. The glare from the white clay pan adds to the heat. I am sunburnt already, but I don’t mind. It is not everyday you walk amongst skeleton trees that are hundreds years old. A drink of water and I am ready to explore.
Aging with beauty:
The trees are estimated to be more than 900 years old. As the climate in this area is extremely dry and hot. This is perfect for preserving the trees and therefore they have not decomposed.
How did this happen?
This pan was originally flooded by water from the Tsauchab River, which allowed the Camel Thorn trees to grow and flourish. This unusual beauty formed when the sand dunes cut off the water supply from the Tsauchab River to this area, it dried up and Deadvlei was formed.
Views all round:
Accessing Deadvlei after climbing the ‘crazy dune’ means we get to see Deadvlei in all its glory, from various angles, above, from a distance and close. Walking across the clay pan with the trees in the distance feels alien. It’s a bit surreal walking on the reminiscence of a prehistoric world.
Deadvlei, Alive with beauty:
The shadows are moving across the textured clay pan, giving life to our photographs as we snap away. More visitors are arriving by the minute but fortunately a lot of them stay in the front of Deadvlei. Photographing from the middle of the vlei meant we had more area to explore, with less people around us. Eventually, the heat becomes too much, and we decide to call it a day.
It was worth the drive:
We spent about an hour here, taking as many photographs as we could. Overall this was one of the most memorable days of my life. This has to the most beautiful dead places on earth. The Sossusvlei area lived up too every expectation I had of it and I worth every kilometre driven to get here.
Could it be the 8th wonder?
I was excited to read that Deadvlei was nominated as the 8th wonder of the world. Writing a post and photos does not do Deadvlei justice. If you can visit it, this is a once in a lifetime experience not too be missed. Be prepared to be mesmerised by this natural wonder and take infinite amounts of photos! I think I need to go back to experience Deadvlei at night.
Until next time. Adventure Awaits.
How to get to Deadvlei:
Deadvlei is located in Sesriem Park, 5kms from the 2×4 car park. You can access it by 4×4 vehicle or with the 4×4 shuttle service. The sand is quite soft and thick beyond the car park. You need to know how to drive your 4×4 or all-wheel drive vehicle to navigate your way around here. We saw 3 vehicles stuck in the sand on the way to Deadvlei. The shuttle service cost R170 per adult for a return trip. It is possible to walk from the car park if you prefer to do so, but it will not be easy in the heat. I could not see any signage in the area for walking to Deadvlei but were people braving the walk.
Don’t forget to bring:
Water, a hat, sunglasses and your camera. If you can explore first thing in the morning, it is a lot more enjoyable. Take sunglasses as the glare from the white clay as well as the dune is harsh. Anyone can explore Deadvlei, as it is a short 1 kilometre walk from where the shuttle drops you. It is a flat walk through some soft sand. The trees are located at the front of Deadvlei, so you don’t need to walk very far to see them.