Described by many as the most beautiful place without life. A graveyard for trees this huge salt pan was created about 900 to 1000 years ago. The pan can be found in the Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia, Deadvlei is surrounded by some of the highest sand dunes in the world. Deadvlei, which means Dead Marsh, gets its name from the English word, dead, and Afrikaans word, vlei, which means a lake or marsh in a valley between the dunes). The clay pan was formed after the Tsauchab River flooded into the area and created temporary shallow pools where this new found moisture allowed camel thorn trees to grow. When the climate changed and drought hit the area, the sand dunes surrounded the pan, blocking the river from the area. The pan became dry and lifeless, a state in which it has remained ever since. The tree remains are scorched by the sun and stand lifeless on the white open pan. These remains, which are believed to be about 900 years old, have been scorched black by the intense sun and although they are not petrified, the wood does not decompose because it is so dry. There are however some species of plants that still grow in this harsh environment, such as Salsola shrubs and the Nara melon, but generally this dead marsh is an eerily beautiful and deserted place you have to see to believe.
Deadvlei is about a 30 minute journey into the desert and once there it would take about another 30 minutes to walk across it. It is a destination that gives visitors the feeling of arriving at a place before time began. Another one of the many reasons to visit this beautiful part of the Khomas Region is to experience the sunrise (or sunset) over the massive red sand dunes of the Namib Desert. The skies are said to be amongst the clearest on Earth.