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Old 06-01-2009, 08:23 AM
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johnfreeman johnfreeman is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2007
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Default To Floydian: gates

Hi Henk,
There are in fact two gates at Sesriem, an external gate and an internal gate. The external gate I believe closes at dusk and allows you into the visitor centre and campground. The internal gate allows access from the campground to the park itself and is open from 5.15 in the morning until 6.30 in the evening. The trouble is that dawn is sometime between 6 and 6.30 a.m. and sunset between 5 and 5.30 p.m. and as I said in the note it's 60 km of tar road (with a 60 kmh speed limit!) to the 2WD carpark + 5 km sand track to the 4WD carpark at Sossusvlei, plus an extra 1.1 km on foot to Dead Vlei. Hidden Vlei (larger but not as photogenic) is 2 km on foot from the 2WD car park (i.e. without the sandy track). So clearly that makes it quite a rush to be there for dawn or sunset - probably impossible if you observe the speed limit, which no one does but you have to watch out very carefully for animals. Gate access is also very strict: the guard checks permits and notes down all registration plates and I believe also the number of passengers, so it's not possible simply to spend the night in a sleeping bag at Dead Vlei as I had initially thought of doing.
We organised the trip ourselves and spent 3 nights on Sesriem campsite (booked in advanced online through Namibia Wildlife Resorts). One great thing about Namibia is that it's very easy to plan and organise your own trip and it's also very tourist friendly so there's absolutely no problem in travelling around on your own. The only thing is that there is limited accommodation (even for camping) in the wildlife resorts managed by NWR (including Etosha, Skeleton Coast and the Namib park) so it's worth booking online well in advance. It's also well worth hiring a 4WD vehicle - we had a Nissan Double Cab with roof tents.
Thanks for the critique!
John
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