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Sossusvlei

At around 80 million years old, the Namib Desert is one of the planet's oldest and most spectacular deserts. It is an incredibly diverse desert, hosting an amazing array of wildlife species, and with landscapes ranging from towering sand dunes to rocky mountains; it is also one of the only deserts in the world that abuts right onto an ocean.

Perhaps the single most striking feature within the entire Namib Desert is the other-worldly landscape around Sossusvlei. This is where the Namib's famous coastal dune belt reaches a crescendo, with giant red dunes soaring up to 1,200 feet above the surrounding desert. Interspersed between these colossal dunes are dry pans and the contorted skeletons of trees that died hundreds of years ago but have been preserved by the blazing desert sun. Watching the sunrise over this ancient and surreal landscape, and marveling at the  dunes' range of shimmering colors through the course of a day is one of southern Africa's most awe-inspiring experiences.

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