You might know Deadvlei from photos. It’s a wondrous area that was once a swap, which slowly dried out to become a saltpan. Everything here is bone dry, and the 900-year-old trees are majestic fossils. You can rather easily visit this remote place yourself. Read my tips to get the most out of your visit.

Take a tour to Deadvlei

The Deadvlei is close to the famous Sossusvlei. Many tourists visit both areas; you first visit Deadvlei and then Sossusvlei.

4W drive tours

You can book a four-wheel drive tour where you visit both Deadvlei as well as Sossusvlei with a guide. Usually, these guided tours start early morning, so you escape the heath. And as a bonus, you avoid the tourist flood.

You will be picked up at your hotel. On the way, you will get a lot of information on the history of Sossusvlei and Deadvlei and the opportunity to take pictures.

The Deadvlei
The Deadvlei. Corno van den Berg

Go with your rental car

You can also reach Deadvlei by yourself (with your rental car) as Deadvlei is part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. The roads are good to drive yourself, though they are dirt roads. Whilst driving through the park, look around and you might spot quite some wildlife. Think of gemsbok, ostrich and various species of antelopes. Rule of thumb, where these types of animal live, there will also be predators…

You can park your car at the designated parking area and walk to the Deadvlei.

Best time to visit Deadvlei

It’s best to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon. There are two reasons to do so: it’s less hot, and you get better photos. Always have your back to the sun and try to capture the trees in the photos.

Photography tips

The trees show long shadows in the morning which gives an extraordinary sight. As the day passes by, the shadows of the dunes also slowly move. Which you can capture easily in a photograph.

Keep the sun as much as possible at your back whilst taking pictures. Do not forget to capture the trees in the landscape. You can play around with the sunlight and the framing with dunes and trees.

Deadvlei is surrounded by high dunes, some of which are higher than 350. They have names such as ‘Big Daddy’. The way the landscape changes from the dunes to the saltpan is remarkable.

Be aware!

Deadvlei can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius at its hottest time. It’s a desert and requires that you prepare well before you head off here to spend a few days touring. Besides wearing protective clothing (long sleeves and a hat) it’s important to have plenty of drinking water. Going in the morning or late afternoon will make a difference, also when it comes to the lighting, the colours are much better then.