Most visitors to Deadvlei have probably noticed that there’s the odd set of footprints going around the pan. If you’ve walked around the place barefoot for two hours then you’ll know how hard that surface is, so where do the footprints come from? Deadvlei needs a substantial amount of water for that surface to turn to clay so that someone will leave noticeable prints. It is a pretty common occurrence to have water in Sossusvlei in the rainy season because it gets flooded by the Tsaucheb river, which gets fed from a major mountain range catchment area. Deadvlei however, is deadvlei because it was cut off from Sossus by a dune hundreds of years ago and that made the trees die. So for any water to end up in Deadvlei, it has to fall directly above it. If you consider how many tourists go there a year and how few footprints there are, then you’ll realise how little people have seen this natural spectacle, let alone photographed it.
Images and story by Dom Wills – Check out his Deviantart page to see more.
“After an early evening of looking at some stars at the campsite at Sesriem, I was a bit shocked to be awoken a few hours later by thunder and rain. Being in the Namib Desert, I thought it would be temporary storm and move on. I was wrong. It rained solidly for 2 days.
I took periodic trips to Deadvlei to see how much, if any, water was landing on the pan. On the second morning, I was one of the first to the 4×2 parking lot and the road to deadvlei was flooded. Other cars had parked and were waiting for guides to help them get through. I knew that the river was going to come down in flood at any time, so I lowered tyre pressures and pressed on.
I though there would be the odd puddle at deadvlei at the most, but as I walked over the dune, I was delighted to see there was loads of water pooled up in large puddles all over the vlei. Given the river flooding situation, I gave myself an hour before heading back. What a glorious solo hour in this iconic landscape.
When I got back to the 4×2 parking lot, the rangers had blocked access to the vlei – suppose timing is everything and sometimes early mornings do pay off.”