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Namibia


Sesriem Campsite

Sossusvlei - Namibia

The camp site at Sesriem receives its name from the nearby canyon of the same name. This is the gateway to the sand dune desert and on to one of Namibia's most popular and famous tourist attractions, the dunes at Sossusvlei. It is set amongst a beautiful surrounding landscape, with mountains to the east and dunes to the west.

Sesriem gets it's name from early pioneers, who wanted to get water from the canyon. They had to tie six leather thongs to the handle of their buckets, in order to draw water from pools that were inaccessible to their livestock. These thongs were called 'leer riems' in Afrikaans, 'ses' being six in the same language. The area soon became known as 'Ses Rieme' or Sesriem.

The main reason for camping at Sesriem is in order to get an early start on your way to visit Sossusvlei. Sossusvlei means 'the gathering place of water' in the local Nama language. Seasonal rains from the Naukluft and Tsaris Mountains that succeeded in reaching the vlei, create temporary lakes that reflected the sand dunes surrounding them. The high, red sand dunes which surround Sossusvlei form part of the sand sea, which stretches from just north of Luderitz to the Kuiseb River. Some of these dunes reach as high as 220m.

Vegetation, such as the camelthorn tree, (many a breakfast or lunch is taken under these trees here) is watered by infrequent floods of the Tsauchab River, which slowly soak into the underlying clay. Sossusvlei is one of 4 clay pans in the area, the others being The Dead Vlei, Hidden Vlei and Nara Vlei.

Camping for the dunes at Sossusvlei is available here at Sesriem. (Camping is not permitted at Sossusvlei). Ordinary sedan cars can travel the 63 km on the tarred road from Sesriem to the beginning of the vlei, but the final 5kms have to be driven in 4WD vehicles. The nearest dunes are only a few hundred metres away from the car park and are easily accessible on foot.

There are 24 campsites at Sesriem, each in the shade of camelthorn trees. Each site has its own fireplace and tap. There are public telephones, a petrol station, the shop attached to the reception area sells beer, soft drinks and basic groceries (although it is worth bringing your own food as the stock of food in the shop is eclectic and even basics are by no means guaranteed). There is also a swimming pool and a small thatched bar serving cold beers and cool drinks. The communal ablution block has showers, toilets and wash basins. As electricity is not always guaranteed here, it is advisable that visitors take a torch/night light when going for an evening shower.

Demand for these camp sites is high and pre-booking is essential, especially in the high season. (June-September) Bookings need to be made far in advance.

Important Information:

  • Entrance to the park for overnight and day visitors, is between sunrise and sunset only.
  • As Sesriem Campsite is inside the Namib/Naukluft Park, overnight visitors are allowed access to Sossusvlei 1hr before sunrise.
  • Sesriem Campsite: The swimming pool offers relief from the Namib Desert heat
  • Sesriem Campsite: Typical Sossusvlei dunes
  • Sesriem Campsite:  Sesriem Canyon - near the campsite of the same name
  • Sesriem Campsite: A shaded campsite
  • Sesriem Campsite: views from the camp
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activities at the lodge
Sesriem Canyon
During the raining season rock pools sometimes form in the canyon and provide excellent swimming opportunities. During drier months you can walk up the canyon.
Sossusvlei
This is the reason you are staying here - popular opinion is that the dunes are best seen early in the morning or late afternoon.
Elim Dune
A petrified dune near the Sesriem Camp proves a popular spot to watch the sunset (for those not rushing back from a late afternoon visit to Sossusvlei)
activities in the area

Ballooning over Sossusvlei

Drift over the dune fields at Sossusvlei and enjoy a champagne breakfast wherever the wind takes you

Scenic Flights

light aircraft regularly depart on scenic flights over Sossusvlei and its surroundings

Static Map

map of sesriem

Maps are © Cardboard Box Travel Shop - Namibia & are protected by digital watermarking. Please request permission before copying, publishing or using the maps in any format.
Directions to the lodge

Sesriem is the entrance to the dunes at Sossusvlei

interactive map

Agama River Camp

Offering a choice of rooms or campsites around 45km north of Sesriem

Betesda Rest Camp

Budget choice, catering for both large bus groups and individual travellers

Desert Camp

Competitively priced self catering lodge - very close to the entrance to the Namib Naukluft Park

Desert Homestead

Mid-range accommodation offering some of the best value for money in the area. Horse riding an added activity

Dune Star Camp | Hiking

These rustic wooden cabins can only be reached as part of a guided walking trail originating at Namib Desert Lodge. perfect for those wanting to explore the desert of foot

Hoodia Desert Lodge

Mid range lodge located only 22km from the Sesriem gate to the Namib-Naukluft Park

Kulala Desert Lodge

Up-market lodge with private entrance to the dunes at Sossusvlei

Le Mirage Desert Lodge & Spa

Moroccan inspired architecture seems strangely out of place in Namibia. The location, spa and general amenities are good.

Little Kulala

Luxury lodge with guided tour to the dunes using the lodges own private entrance, excellent choice for those looking for a little extra luxury

Little Sossus Lodge

Reasonable value for money - on the main route to Sossusvlei

Moon Mountain Lodge

A new hotel with raised rooms built on wooden platforms 40km from Sesriem

Namib Desert Lodge

Budget choice, fairly far from the dunes and next to the fossil dune cliffs

Namib Naukluft Lodge

Good solid choice, on a beautiful property some distance from the park entrance

Sesriem Campsite

This campsite offer the closest place to stay to the dunes - camping only

Soft Adventure Camp

A combination of permanent structures and canvas make this an interesting choice for the budget conscious traveller

Sossus Dune Lodge

Brand new luxury camp inside the Namib Park borders

Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

Most luxurious lodge in the area, air-conditioned rooms and private butler

Sossusvlei Lodge

Large establishment right next to the Sesriem Campsite, best for keeping driving to a minimum

Weltevrede Rest Camp

A friendly owner run lodge offering excellent value for money. Rooms have private verandah's offering views of sunsets over the Namib Desert dunes & spot-lit waterhole.

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