Sossusvlei, a place that's had a special place in my heart ever since I first read about it in the ’80s, and then experienced through the photography of late Getaway Magazine photographer Patrick Wagner. Here the Tsauchab River, which only flows occasionally, eventually gives up its effort to reach the sea and disappears into the drifting sands of the Namib, the most ancient of the world's deserts.
Some years the river doesn't flow at all, other times for only part of the year, but when it does come down in flood, it submerges the entire area. When that happens, photographers from far and wide descend on Sossusvlei to capture the spectacle. Mostly though, it’s bone dry with only the wind at work, continually shifting the desert sands.
Sometimes Video Speaks Loudest
Deadvlei is a bit of a walk through the dunes, it’s well worth it though, but take water and wear shoes. The sand gets very hot as the sun gets higher, and, this is a living desert, with stuff that can bite you lurking below the sand. The ancient dried trees, some of them over 800 years old, have stood watch over the ever-changing dunes, seen floods and droughts and witnessed centuries come and go. These trees were 200 years old when Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, they were already 300 years old when Henry 8th was King of England, and 400 years old when Jan Van Riebeeck landed in the Cape.