With tree skeletons, hundreds of years old, lost in the middle of the desert, it’s little wonder Deadvlei has been nominated as the 8th Wonder of the World. Click on the image below to vote for Deadvlei and read on to learn more about this natural spectacle.
Amidst the towering red dunes of the Namib Rand, just outside Sossusvlei, lies the haunting and spectacular Deadvlei. The name Deadvlei means dead marsh (from the English dead and the Afrikaans vlei). What once was a marsh, is now a dried white clay pan, surrounded by some of the highest sand dunes in the world that have literally rusted over thousands of years, giving them their fiery complexion.
It is believed that the clay pan formed more than a thousand years ago, when the Tsauchab river flooded after heavy rainfall and created shallow pools of water. In these marshes camel thorn trees began to grow. But after around 200 years, the climate changed. Drought struck the area. The sand dunes that encroached the area soon blocked off the Tsaucheb river and any water from the once luscious marsh.
With no water, the trees were unable to survive. But they did not disappear. So harsh was the climate that the trees dried out instead of decomposing, and the desert sun scorched them into blackened bones, never to vanish from the earth.
Now all that remains are 900 year old tree skeletons trapped in a white clay marsh, set against red rusted dunes and a brilliant blue sky. A forest frozen in time.
Help Deadvlei become the 8th Wonder of the World!
To make sure Deadvlei secures the prestigious title of the 8th Wonder of the World, we need as many votes as possible! If you’ve been to Deadvlei, and its left you speechless or just standing in awe at the beauty and strangeness of it, vote for Deadvlei please vote for Deadvlei by clicking onhere. Voting is now open, and remember, you can vote everyday, once every 24 hours, until September 30th!
The park gate is just past Sesriem, and is open between sunrise and sunset. From here, the 65km drive to Sossusvlei takes about an hour.
At the base of Dune 45 - 45km from the gate - there is a small parking area and a dry toilet. Sossusvlei has a larger parking area with more toilets and a picnic area. There is no water here, so bring plenty.
The route beyond this parking area (another 4km to Sossusvlei) can only be covered in a 4WD vehicle. Alternatively, there is a 4WD transfer service, or you can walk.
The climate here is extreme, even in winter. Visitors should bring at least two litres of water, sunscreen, a sunhat, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirt. Be aware that the sun is also reflected upwards from the sand!
Sossusvlei is one of the most visited destinations in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, but visitors can also enjoy hot air balloon rides, quad biking, desert hikes, paragliding and sand boarding. Download our Adventure Travel Planning Guide to find out more!
The tree skeletons pose for the keen photographers
Tourists from around the world come to witness this natural wonder
Cracked white clay of the Deadvlei
Deadvlei with teasing clouds, Photo courtesy of TravelNewsNamibia.com
Deadvlei at Sunset, Photo courtesy of TravelNewsNamibia.com