Hiddenvlei is the least visited of the vleis in the Sossusvlei area. A hike to find the hidden clay pan in Sossusvlei is therefore great for a little solitude. During your hike to the vlei, you are able to examine the sand to find various tracks from the animals that roam the area. You will probably see tracks from gemsboks and springboks, as well as smaller animals such as the Namib Gecko. If you are lucky, you might even see the Gecko! A hike to Hiddenvlei in Sossusvlei is perfect to do for some stunning surroundings and beautiful views of the Namib Desert.
Everything you need to know for a visit to Hiddenvlei
There are always some things that you wished you had known before you arrive at an attraction when traveling around the world. A visit to the hidden clay pan in Sossusvlei will probably not be an exception to this. Therefore, we have gathered everything you need to know for a visit to Hiddenvlei.
Getting to Hiddenvlei
When you enter the national park through Sesriem Gate you must follow the signs towards Sossusvlei to get to Hiddenvlei. This trip is along a paved road and should take you about 60 minutes. After driving through the beautiful landscapes, you will arrive at a parking area (the one with shuttles). Park your car here and look for the sign saying “Hiddenvlei 2 km”. When you have found the sign, you must follow the markers through the sand till you get to Hiddenvlei. The markers of the route are wooden poles, and they can be a bit tricky to spot in the desert landscape. So keep your eyes open!
Bonus tip: The gray sand is more firm and therefore more comfortable to walk in.
The opening hours of the national park are every day of the week from sunrise to sunset. There more specific times can be found at the entrance gate upon arrival, as they tend to change every week.
The entrance fee to Sossusvlei is 150 NAD for a foreign visitor and 50 NAD for a car permit. As two foreigners this means that we paid 350 NAD for the both of us and the car.
Time spent at finding Hiddenvlei
Hiking to the hidden vlei of Sossusvlei should take you about 1 hour, however, the walk back to the parking area might be faster. It took us 50 minutes to walk to Hiddenvlei, but only 30 minutes to walk back to our car. Therefore, we would recommend you set aside 2 hours for a hike to Hiddenvlei in Sossusvlei. This will allow you some time for breaks during your hike.
If you want to walk down onto the clay pan you must set aside a lot more time. It is a very steep walk and will probably take 1 to 2 hours extra. We didn’t do so, but we think it can be done if you are prepared with enough water and snacks.
A good alternative to Deadvlei
A hike to Hiddenvlei in Sossusvlei can be a good alternative to Deadvlei. Especially if your budget does not allow for the shuttles towards Deadvlei, or if you aren’t comfortable driving through the sand to the parking lot on your own. Hiddenvlei seems just as big as Deadvlei, however, there aren’t as many trees as at Deadvlei. But it is a good alternative, where you will be rewarded with some beautiful scenery on your hike.
Best time to visit Hiddenvlei in Sossusvlei
The best time to visit Hiddenvlei in Sossusvlei is in the early morning hours. The walk through the desert is without any shade. Therefore, it gets scorching in the midday heat and it might be unbearable to finish the hike. By going early, you are also able to visit other sights in the Sossusvlei area. A climb to the top of Dune 45 is a great thing to do and so is a shadowed walk through Sesriem Canyon in the afternoon.