Sesriem, Namibia
Africa Namibia

Namibia: Wandering silent in Sesriem

Driving towards Sesriem in Namibia, on the one side of the road the granite mountains become huge chunks of part-cut amethyst lit by the sinking sun. On the other side the dunes are lit red on the western side but remain inky shadows on the other side of the crest.

The wind carves the dunes into amazing formations. There are multi-cyclic or parabolic dunes, or more romantically star-shaped dunes. Each crest slides, sinuous towards the valley floor, all curves and rills and a final flourish before merging with the yellow tussock.

Sesriem, Namibia

The desert wind is a constant companion in Namibia. It comes and goes like clockwork, drying the air and lungs, sending up dust whirlwinds over the plains. But still there is life.


This is part of the Namib Desert, and in the Namib Naukluft National Park, but this sea of mighty red dunes at Sesriem has become one of Namibia’s most popular natural attractions.

From the campsite at Sesriem vehicles take visitors in to Sossusvlei, a salt and clay pan in the midst of the red dunes. It is hot, unbearably so, and I found walking there a struggle. I really felt like I was going to pass out in the heat at one point.

Sesriem, Namibia

The famous dead trees twist artistically against the white salt pan but I had to wobble to the shade of a Camelthorn, one of the few leafy trees.

The conditions were much more bearable next morning for the ascent of Dune 45 (so-called simply because it is 45 kilometres past Sesriem). It is only 80 metres high but my feet sank into the soft sand as I hurried towards the summit for sunrise.

Sesriem, Namibia

The first rays of light turn the grey dunes of Sesriem pink and the colour becomes warmer and warmer until at last they are in their full red glory again. And yes they really are this red – no colour-enhancement here!

Sesriem, Namibia

In the distance what looks like a rain shower moved across the ocean of sand, surreal in this desperately dry landscape.

Sesriem, Namibia

Once again, the beauty of Namibia is overwhelming.

By Natasha von Geldern

Have you experienced the red dunes of Sesriem in Namibia?

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The Red Dune Sea of Sesriem Namibia

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  1. Hi Natasha,
    Wow, these are beautiful, beautiful photos! They are…(couldn’t find the words)…amazing is not enough but it has to do.:)

    I haven’t experienced the red dunes of Sesriem in Namibia but I would love to!

    I have experienced the Swiss Alps though and I guess that comes close to this beauty.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. thepinaysolobackpacker

    that’s sooo beautiful! i wish i can visit that red dunes too. great captures! thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. Looks almost absurdly beautiful the Namibian desert. I’ve only been in Windhoek, but would love to see more of that somewhat enigmatic country.

  4. Awesome shots! I want to go to Namibia so bad and this isn’t helping! The red sands remind me of the Outback a bit…

  5. Our first trip to Africa was to Namibia and the dunes were our first destination. There is nothing that I didn’t love on our 2 1/2 week trip.
    And your photos are drop dead gorgeous.

  6. I remember the climb up dune 45 nearly killing me 🙂 Fantastic place though – stunning photos 😀

  7. Incredible photos!!

  8. These photos are especially breathtaking. Namibia has such a strange place in my memory, but you are changing a lot of that with all of your gorgeous posts!

  9. Gorgeous shots! The beauty of the place is surreal in spite of the hostile weather.
    Have a happy week Natasha 🙂

  10. Very beautiful pictures, thanks!

  11. Hi!
    I have never been to Namibie! In my dream there is lots of red dunes, but no sea!!
    Where is the red dunes without the sea??? Thanx would like comments on this issue!!

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