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As there is no accommodation at Sossusvlei, visitors to this desert wilderness are likely to end up staying at Sesriem, 65 kilometres away, where camps and lodges serve as a base from which to explore the dunes. Sesriem Canyon, a deep chasm carved through the rocks by water, is a striking natural feature of the area that is best explored on foot. Stony walls rise up sharply on both sides of the canyon, while birds roost in its crags and lizards dart along the ledges. The canyon’s name was coined when early settlers used it as a water source, using six lengths of leather (‘ses riem – six thongs) tied together to lower buckets into the water at the base of canyon.)

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