Namibia: Wandering silent in Sesriem

Sesriem, Namibia
Driving towards Sesriem in Namibia, on the one side of the road the granite mountains have 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.

Desert gecko, Sesriem, Namibia

The constant desert wind is my 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.

Sesriem, Namibia

I’m still in 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 walking becomes a struggle. I really think I am going to pass out in the heat.

Sesriem, Namibia

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

The conditions are 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 sink into the soft sand as I hurry 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 moves 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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About Natasha von Geldern

Natasha von Geldern is the World Wandering Kiwi, a freelance travel writer, editor and inveterate traveller who is passionate about making the pages of the atlas real one trip at a time.

Comments

  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. 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.
    Sophie recently posted..The many unusual churches of NessebarMy Profile

  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.
    Leigh recently posted..Kayaking Calgary’s Glenmore ReservoirMy Profile

  6. I remember the climb up dune 45 nearly killing me :) Fantastic place though – stunning photos :D
    Laurence recently posted..That time I nearly died in the OutbackMy Profile

  7. Incredible photos!!
    Andrea recently posted..Scandinavian Beer: Unique and Brutal, Served In a BottleMy Profile

  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!
    Abby recently posted..Old-school California in La JollaMy Profile

  9. Gorgeous shots! The beauty of the place is surreal in spite of the hostile weather.
    Have a happy week Natasha :)
    Arti recently posted..An Interview With BlogAdda and A Food FeatureMy Profile

  10. Very beautiful pictures, thanks!
    vidisha@greenglobaltravel recently posted..DESTINATIONS: Volunteering On A Vineyard in the Spanish PyreneesMy Profile

  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!!

  12. Hi Natasha!
    Thank you kindly for your reply! Definately gonna save to go there as soon as
    I can! Follow my destiny!! x

  13. You will love it Maggie! Definitely my favourite destination in southern Africa. Follow your travel dreams!

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