The Solitaire, Sesriem & Sossusvlei Guide: 6 Must do activities.
Located just about 80 km apart, Solitaire and Sesriem are small desert settlements that boast breath-taking views. These are definitely without a doubt places you should tick of your bucket list en route to the magnificent Sossusvlei; a salt and clay pan surrounded by high red dunes, situated in the Namib-Naukluft National Park.
Before you embark on your journey - take note;
You will need a 4x4 Pickup as to and from, Solitaire, Sesriem and Sossusvlei is all gravel road.
Accommodation in Solitaire, Sesriem & Sossusvlei, is readily available and suited for every individuals taste such as a free range of campsites, Bed and Breakfasts and luxury Lodges.
You will need a permit to enter the Namib-Naukluft National Park;
Permit Park Entrance and usage fees pp:
Children under the age of 16 – No Charge
Namibian Residents pp – N$ 30
Adults (SADC) pp – N$ 60 / USD 4
Vehicle Park Entrance fees:
10 Seats or less – N$ 10 / USD 1
11 to 25 seats – N$ 40 /USD 3
26 to 50 seats – N$ 300 / USD 21
51 plus seats – N$ 500 / USD 34
Let’s get to it, if you enjoy going the extra mile because you do not know if or when you will ever return to a place again and want to do as many fun activities as you possibly can then continue reading; this blog entry is for you.
6 Must do activities
Many tourists usually make a pit stop here as it gives a one way road access to Sesriem and Sossusvlei depending on where you are headed to. Solitaire also stands as the only gas station with in its settlement which also offers a puncture and mechanical repair facility and a bakery among other things.
It however does not only stop there as what would normally capture any traveller’s attention would be the range of abandoned and rusted broken down cars that can be found all around the settlement, which make for great travel photo opportunities. Take some time and have yourself a mini tour of all the cars.
Explore the Sesriem Canyon, climb Big Daddy Dune & visit Deadvlei
This is literally a three in one adventure stop in Sossusvlei, with so much other activities to do. My advice would be, make your way to the Namib-Naukluft National Park as early as you possibly can. Gates open at Sunrise which is just about 6am and closes at Sunset.
It tends to get very hot within the Namib-Naukluft National Park areas so moving around in the early mornings while the weather is still cool would be in your best interest, remember to also wear closed shoes, ideally trainers or hiking boots. DO NOT make the mistake of going with sandals as you will live to regret it.
The first activity that you can tick off as it is just located about 4km from the Namib-Naukluft National Park gate, is exploring the Sesriem Canyon. The Canyon is said to be a natural canyon carved by the Tsauchab River it is about a kilometre long and up to 30 meters deep.
Big Daddy Dune
Just about a 60 km drive from the Sesriem Canyon to Sossusvlei, along the way, one would encounter several red dunes, the most famous and tallest one in the area being the Big Daddy Dune.
It is hard to miss as a number of visitors are always seen from a distance climbing it, which is definitely another activity you should do as well. Take a bottle of cold water; you will need it. Note that the climb is not an easy one, but if you are willing and determined at your own pace; getting to the top is worth it.
It would not be a complete visit to Sossusvlei if you do not make that extra 10 minute drive from Big Daddy Dune to Deadvlei to see the dark, dead camel thorn trees that are said to be 900 years old. Whether you have heard about it or seen it in pictures, Deadvlei is a must go to place when is Sossusvlei.
Do take note that you definitely have to go with a 4x4 to Deadvlei as the road to the pan has some really thick sand and if one is not able to navigate through that you will find yourself stuck.
Alternatively if you do have a smaller car that would not make it pass the thick sand, there are car services that do assist with transporting visitors to and from the pan for a fee, all depending on which service you decided to make use of.
Note that Deadvlei has a parking area where you will be required to leave your car and walk an extra 1km to the pan, do take water for this walk to keep yourself hydrated.
Watch the sunrise and sunset
There’s a quote I love and I believe resonates so beautiful with the sunrise and sunset in Solitaire, Sesriem and Sossusvlei.
‘The sunsets to rise again, remember that every day is a new day to create something new and good in your life’
Whether, you find yourself having dinner or driving early morning with in the area remember to take in the beauty that is the sun and what it creates.
E-Bike ride through the Desert
This definitely falls under my favourite must do activities. Depending on where you stay, you will have to enquire if your accommodation offers E-Bike Riding.
I stayed at the Desert Grace Lodge under Gondwana Collection https://www.gondwana-collection.com/ which offer this activity and because I have a Gondwana Membership card, I got a 25% discount on this activity.
One of the things I enjoyed most about E-Bike Riding was that it was not difficult to pedal at all, it was easy and fun at the same time. I would advise you do it just before sunset.
Oh, hey and one more thing , do not forget to just have fun while at it!