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Located in the red dunes of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, itself within the Namib Desert, the world’s oldest, Sossusvlei is where the natural course of the occasionally flowing Tsauchab River is blocked by the mass of sand. This mass of sand stretches for 250 miles south of Walvis Bay, sandwiched between the cold Benguela Current of the west coast and the rocky mountain escarpment that runs parallel more than 60 miles inland. The path of the Tsauchab is flanked by some of the tallest sand dunes in the world and then ends in a series of pans, or “vleis”. Sossusvlei is one such pan, Dead Vlei another.
Despite incredibly low rainfall and the lack of vegetation the Namib Desert is not without wildlife, with a surprising diverse array of insect life, reptiles and rodents each having evolved their own way of surviving in the harsh landscape. Larger mammals also survive in the Namib, their survival enabled by the moisture laden fog that rolls in from the coast when conditions allow.
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