Sossusvlei Budget Camping


3 Days




per person sharing



Safari Description

This 3-day/2-night budget camping safari into Sossusvlei is perfect for those who enjoy the outdoors. Departing from Windhoek on Wednesday, this 3-day tour spends 2 days in the Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world, before going to Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast on Friday. An action-packed itinerary with stops at the Tropic of Capricorn, Big Daddy, Deadvlei, Sossusvlei, Dune 45, Sesriem Canyon and sunset from Elim’s dune.

2 nights are spent at Sesriem Campsite, an incredible camp with stunning views over the desert and surrounding mountains under a huge, ancient camelthorn tree. We spent a full day exploring the dunes, Deadvlei, Sossusvlei, Sesriem Canyon and climbing dunes including Dune 45 for sunrise and Big Daddy for the brave. Our final day includes a stop at Solitaire before returning to Windhoek


Full Itinerary

Day 1: Monday Windhoek -Sesriem campsite– 320 km
You will be collected from your accommodation within the Windhoek city limits at 09:00 and transferred to Chameleon Safaris HQ for a short pre-departure meeting.
There is some lovely mountain scenery on our drive to Sesriem. The road climbs up onto and over Namibia’s central plateau and stops at the small town of Rehoboth for essential supplies, back on the road we pass via the small community at BűellsPort from here we continue on through the desert landscape aiming to arrive at Sesriem around mid afternoon and make our campsite under a huge, ancient camelthorn tree from where we can glimpse the towering red dunes of the world’s oldest desert. We enjoy a picnic-style lunch on the road before settling in at Sesriem Campsite.
In the late afternoon, there is the option with which to start our time in the world’s oldest desert. A short drive will take us to Elim Dune, for the best golden light before sunset. From here, if you would like to, it is a relatively short walk back, through the desert, to our camp.

Accommodation: Twin share tents, shared ablution at the campsite
Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2: Tuesday Windhoek -Sesriem campsite– 120 km
Sunrise in the dunes is the name of the game this morning and that means a pre-dawn start. Our first stop will be at dune 45, so named because it is 45 km from Sesriem, and we cover this first distance in darkness and early morning twilight.
The best time to photograph the dunes is around sunrise and sunset. This is when you can see towering sand dunes illuminated a glowing orange, apricot red on one side and swathed in shadow on the other. The depth of field is amazing at this time of day.
We arrive at Dune 45 and climb to a vantage point for sunrise, watching as the colours grow and change with the ever-altering light. Back to the vehicle for a quick breakfast and we carry on for the last few kilometers to the 2×4 car park where all 2-wheel drive vehicles have to stop. From here we enter the ancient Tsauchab Riverbed for the last 5km leg to Sossusvlei itself.
The Tsauchab River is ephemeral, it only flows seasonally, when there is enough rain, and for the most part, the riverbed is dry. Eons ago, during these rare floods, the Tsauchab sometimes received enough water to flow all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. However, as the millennia passed and the dune fields began to form, (around five million years ago), wind-blown sand invaded the riverbeds. The rivers became more and more constricted by sand until eventually, the occasional floods could not break through the sand barriers that had been erected by the wind. The valley we drove along this morning in the darkness is kept free of sand by the Tsauchab but Sossusvlei is now permanently waters end.

Sossusvlei does still sometimes flood, (perhaps once in a decade). After good rains in the Naukluft Mountains where the river rises, Sossusvlei can become inundated, and the lake that this creates can last for many months, but no longer can the river find its original path to the Atlantic.

There is a 4×4 shuttle service that will transport us through the sandy terrain of the riverbed. We will visit Dead Vlei, an ancient pan completely surrounded by sand, that is strikingly populated with dead, skeletal camelthorn trees. These trees have been a feature of this landscape for over 1000 years. Sossusvlei is almost surrounded by dunes, just one narrow path kept open by the Tsauchab River.
We have time to explore the area on foot and to climb one of the highest dunes in the world, some towering 300 m above us, the views are breathtaking and justly famous.
We drive back to Sesriem for lunch and perhaps a dip in the swimming pool and in the afternoon, we take a short excursion to see the Sesriem Canyon.

Only four km from our campsite, this canyon has been carved out of the landscape by the Tsauchab River. Around two million years ago there was an ice age in Europe. This caused glaciers to form and resulted in a worldwide drop in sea level. The knock-on effect of this at Sesriem Canyon was that it increased the length and water flow of the Tsauchab River. This greater force of water allowed the Tsauchab to begin cutting through the terrain resulting in the canyon we can see today. We can easily walk into the riverbed, it is usually much cooler in the canyon and we can follow the river for some way along its journey to Sossusvlei.

Accommodation: Twin share tents, shared ablution at the campsite
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2: Tuesday Windhoek – Windhoek – 320 km
Our last day today but excitement is still on the menu. We head back to Solitaire where wee have time to sample the apple pie that has made this homestead famous.

There is some lovely mountain scenery on our drive back to Windhoek. The road climbs up onto and over Namibia’s central plateau and we return to Windhoek via the small community at BűellsPort and the small town of Rehoboth. We arrive mid-afternoon and will be dropped at Chameleon Backpackers or the accommodation of our choice within Windhoek city limits.

Accommodation: None
Meals: Breakfast

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Transport in a Toyota Quantum.
Services of a professional English-speaking guide
2 nights camping
Camping equipment (excluding sleeping bag which can be hired)
Meals as above (B – breakfast, L – lunch, D – dinner)
Tap water
National Park entry fees
Activities including:
– Early morning excursion to Dune 45, Dead Vlei and Sossusvlei in Chameleon Safaris vehicle
– 4×4 Shuttle voucher 2×4 carpark to Sossusvlei and return
Pick in up within Windhoek City limits
Drop off within Windhoek City limits

Pickup info: Pick up from accommodation starts at 7h00 on morning of departure

Other Info:

Single supplement is upon request