If you have perused any postcard shop in Africa, you would have seen that iconic picture of Sossusvlei Dunes lit on the one side by the sun. And if you are a photographer, you would definitely want to recreate a unique version of that postcard image. The secret? Arriving at the Dunes for sunrise. Here’s a handy guide on how to do that.
1. Suss out the distances
It’s important to understand that Dune 45 is about 45km from the Sesriem gates and Sossusvlei is about 50km from the gates, so plan on getting to the gates 30-40 minutes before sunrise.
2. Arrive in a 4×4 vehicle
It’s impossible to drive to Deadvlei and Sossusvlei Dunes (my favorites) without a 4×4 vehicle, as the road is mostly sand at the end. The only alternative is to get shuttled in with other tourists in the park 4×4 vehicle, or stay at a high end lodge driving you in (see below). Make sure you let down your tires and power through the sand roads.
3. Stay here, or you won’t get in on time
There are only two places to stay which give access to the Sossusvlei Dunes gates before sunrise. You either need to stay in Sesriem Campsite (with your own camping gear) which is the Namibia Wildlife Reserve campsite, allowing you to start driving towards the dunes at first light. If you have a high end budget, you can also stay at Kulala or Little Kulala which has private access to the reserve, and their guides will get you in before sunrise.
4. Deadvlei, Sossusvlei, or Dune 45?
If you want images of shadowy dead trees, hit Deadvlei first. If you want to enjoy total isolation, hike to the top of Sossusvlei Dune first. If you want to take an image of the most popular dune, get to Dune 45 but be there right as the sun comes up because it can get more crowded due to proximity.
Now that you are at the dunes for sunrise – happy snapping! And if you want to book an ideal adventure in Namibia, please feel free to contact us.