Sossusvlei literally translates to “dead-end marsh”, as it is the place where the dunes come together preventing the Tsauchab River to flow any further, some 60km east of the Atlantic Ocean. However, due to the dry conditions in the Namib Desert the River seldom flows this far and the pan remains bone-dry most years.
During an exceptional rainy season the Tsauchab fills the pan, drawing visitors from all over the world to witness this spectacular site. The glassy “lake” holds reflections of the surrounding dunes, seemingly splitting off in an alternate reality. When the pan fills it can hold water for as long as a year.