The iconic dead camel thorn trees in the white clay pan have made Deadvlei in Sossusvlei famous amongst travelers of the world. Once upon a time, the Tsauchab River used to flow through the Deadvlei and flooded the area. This water provided life to the trees for them to grow. But due to climate changes the sand dunes have encroached on the clay pan and blocked the river from reaching the trees. With the dry climate, the 900-old trees have not decomposed – Leaving them as eerie skeletons in the middle of the Namib Desert.
Everything you need to know before a visit to Deadvlei
When you are traveling the world and visiting different attractions there are almost always some things that are useful to know before a visit. The famous clay pan in Namibia is no exception to this. Therefore, we have gathered everything you need to know before a visit to the Deadvlei in Sossusvlei.
Getting to Deadvlei
For you to get to Deadvlei you must enter Namib-Naukluft National Park which is down through Sesriem Gate. After entering the park, you must follow the signs towards Sossusvlei on the paved road. This trip should take you about 1 hour and guides you through the beautiful landscapes of the national park. Afterward, you will arrive at a parking lot. Here you find shuttles that can take you to the parking lot of Deadvlei and Big Daddy Dune. These shuttles cost 150 NAD per person. If your budget allows it, a trip with the shuttles can be more comfortable. However, it is also possible to make the drive on your own if you have a 4-wheel drive. This is necessary as you will drive through loose sand. It is a doable drive but very bumpy.
When you arrive at the parking lot of Deadvlei and Big Daddy there is a sign showing which way to go for Deadvlei. It is a 20-minute walk through the sand that is well marked – it won’t be a problem for you to find your way.
As mentioned, you must enter Namib-Naukluft National Park, often referred to as Sossusvlei, to visit Deadvlei. The entrance gate to the park is open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset. The specific times can be found at the entrance gate upon arrival, as they change every week.
The entrance fee for the national park is 150 NAD for a foreign visitor, as well as a 50 NAD car permit. This means that we paid 350 NAD for entering Sossusvlei as 2 foreigners and 1 car.
Time spent at Deadvlei in Sossusvlei
A visit to Deadvlei in Sossusvlei should take you about an hour. This will allow you to take it slow on your walks to and from the parking area, as well as give you enough time to wander the huge clay pan and admire the dead trees.
Combine your visit to Deadvlei with climbing Big Daddy
Right beside Deadvlei lies the massive Big Daddy Dune. There is no better way to visit these two famous places in Sossusvlei than in a combined visit. We would recommend you start your visit by climbing Big Daddy – preferably first thing in the morning. Afterward, you are able to walk down the side of the dune to the dead trees at Deadvlei. Then you are able to wander around the massive clay plan and admire the stunning scenery, before heading back to the parking area.
Best time to visit Deadvlei in Sossusvlei
The best time to visit Deadvlei in Sossusvlei is as early as possible. From around midday, the temperatures tend to be scorching and it is almost unbearable to walk in the shadow-less pan. If you combine your visit with a climb to the top of Big Daddy it is therefore important you start first thing in the morning.