Most famous dunes of Namibia

Most famous dunes of Namibia

Many spots in the world are known to be ancient. But one of the oldest places on Earth is the dry, arid deserts of Namibia

The Namib desert found in Namibia has been existing for at least 55 million years. Set against the coastal desert of Namibia, here you can find the biggest dunes in the world.  

At one glance, these vast sandy areas are beautiful yet eerie to look at.  

An oryx strolling in the Namib desert

An oryx strolling in the Namib desert

In the Namib desert, the climate is interesting. Once you drive from Nambia to the sand-dune coast, you will experience a blast of cold air. The desert receives fog for 180 days, every year. This how the species of animals and plants stay alive. The desert is almost devoid of water yet wildlife thrives. 

Owning to all of these factors, the Namib desert is surely an interesting place filled with mysteries. But what makes it stand out from the rest are the huge dunes that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. 

The thrill of standing high on a dune and getting a view of the whole desert is an exhilarating feeling. The dunes in Namibia attract thousands of tourists every year who climb up the sands and enjoy sliding down. 

The edge of Namib desert

The edge of the Namib desert

Whether you embark on road trips or choose to ride in helicopters to see them, the dunes of Namibia should be on your bucket list.  

These dunes look straight out of children’s fictional books and have the most interesting names you can ever find. 

Check out these 5 most popular dunes you can visit in Namibia:

1. Dune 45 

Dune 45 is found in the Sossusvlei area of the Namib desert in Namibia. Dunes found in Sossusvlei are known as Star Dunes.  

The name ‘star dunes’ originates from the fact that their shape resembles a star when the wind approaches them from all directions. Thus, they hardly move and stay in a star shape. 

Dune 45 when seen from a distance

Dune 45 when seen from a distance

Dune 45 stands over 170 meters and is composed of sands that are 5-million years old. It is called 45 Dune as it is at the 45th kilometer of the road. This road connects the Sesriem Gate and Sossusvlei. 

The sand here is red due to iron oxide content. The color of 45 Dune changes throughout the day, depending on the sunlight. This makes it the most photographed dunes of the Namib desert. 

Visitors are allowed to climb up 45 Dune and catch the breath-taking sunrise and sunsets from the top. The climb is worth the effort and energy as the dune offer the most unspoiled panoramic views of the Dune Valley. 

2. Big Daddy 

One of the tallest dunes in Sossusvlei is the Big Daddy dune. It towers at a staggering 325 meters and makes all the other dunes look as tiny as possible. 

Big Daddy is situated between Deadvlei and Sossusvlei areas. Its name possibly refers to the fact that it is one of the highest and tallest dunes in Sossusvlei. 

People making their way on top of Big Daddy dune

People making their way on top of Big Daddy dune

Most won’t take on the challenge of climbing Big Daddy solely because it will be too much work. But once you reach the top of the dune, your hard work pays off. 

The surreal view provided by Big daddy is incomparable. You can overlook the whole of Deadvlei landscape with its incredible dead camel thorns standing on the surface.  

Another reason to climb the Big Daddy is to attain the ultimate bragging rights. Surely, climbing such a high dune means you get to boast about it. Make sure you carry enough water to hydrate yourself during the trek. 

The climb takes about two hours but turns into a rewarding trip as it might take you only 5 minutes to come sliding down from the dune. 

3. Big Mama 

Giving a headstrong competition to Big Daddy is the Big Mama dune. Standing at a 650-foot tall height, this is a salt and clay pan surrounded by red dunes. 

Big Mama is located in the southern part of the Namib desert, in the Namib-Naukluft National park. As the craters of this dune are shallower than Big Daddy, the climb becomes easier.  

The spectacular view offered by Big Mama dune

The spectacular view offered by Big Mama dune

The wind continuously reshapes the patterns of the dunes in the Nambi desert and hence, the slope of Big Mama also changes continuously. 

The red sand glimmering in the sunlight is a priceless scene. Yet, the view from the top is what marks your trekking journey memorable. The picturesque Sossusvlei area seen from Big Mama remains an iconic view. 

4. Dune 7 

Dune 7 in Namib island is known prominently worldwide. This dune is located in Walvis Bay and measures over 388 meters tall or 1256 feet. Dune 7 is one of the highest dunes found in Namibia. 

It is named Dune 7 because it is the seventh dune one encounters after crossing the Tsauchab river. This river runs through the parts of the Namib desert. 

Dune 7 is the highest dune of Namibia

Dune 7 is the highest dune of Namibia

The magnificent Dune 7 is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. It is an adventurous challenge climbing the tallest dune and watching the scenery from atop.  

The sight of the town and the ocean surrounding the dune is mesmerizing.  And if you don’t want to climb, you can always choose to jump on a quad bike and zoom around the red sandy dune. 

Not only this, but you can also enjoy the thrill of sandboarding at Dune 7.  

After you have taken on the beautiful tour of Dune 7, you can always cool down and have lunch in one of the restaurants located near the dune.  

5. Elim Dune 

Another red dune you can hit up during your stay in Namibia is Elim Dune. Located 5 kilometers away from the Sesriem gate, Elim Dune is high and relatively isolated from the rest. 

Elim dune’s name comes from a farm that was situated in that area before the National Park was established.  

The incredible view from atop Elim dune

The incredible view from atop Elim dune

As it is close to the Sesriem Campsite, Elim dune can easily be reached by a 2WD vehicle. The dune is also ideal to take a pleasant morning or afternoon walk. 

Elim Dune is one of the best places to watch the beautiful sunset of the Namib desert. You also get beautiful views of the surrounding Namib-Naukluft mountains from the top while the Tsauchab river flows down below.  


Namibia is a special place to visit for it has the world’s oldest desert ever known. These deserts have the most unique dunes which cannot be missed at all costs.  

Do give them a try for your next visit to Namibia! 


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