Sesriem often comes across as the poor relative of the Sossusvlei and is seen as little more than a gateway to this world-renowned area. It is, however, home to the spectacular Sesriem Canyon, a noteworthy feature in its own right.
The canyon is a natural gorge, carved out of the earth millions of years ago in the heyday of the mighty Tsauchab River, before all the westward flowing rivers of Namibia shrivelled up and disappeared. Today, only the Tsauchab shows any signs of life, and then only after heavy rainfall in the nearby Naukluft mountains.
The town of Sesriem itself offers little more than a general dealer and a filling station en route to the Naukluft National Park. It seems a forgotten place, abandoned by nature and overlooked by man, but it is this very desolation that makes it stand out in the crowd.
Spectacularly deserted, the Sesriem Canyon is a magnificent sight to behold when the sun strikes against the bare-faced rocks, exploding into a thousand points of light, and bathing the surroundings in an ephemeral glow. It is a joy to walk amongst the spectacularly juxtaposed sedimentary layers of rock, each one from a different era, and to absorb the eerie tranquillity of this silent place. A clever photographer could make a name for themselves here, capturing the play of light reflected against the passage of time carved into the rock surfaces.
When the rain does come, sparkling gems of water collect in the narrow sheltered sections of the canyon floor, forming pools of crystal refreshment for the weary traveller. It is these pools which gave the canyon its name in days gone by, when the Dorsland trekkers used to frequent these parts. Weary and parched, these Dutch trekkers would lower no less than six strips (ses riem) of oryx hide tied together to reach the life giving liquid concealed in the depths of the canyon.
Today you can visit these pools and their resident barbel by means of a walking trail and can even stop over for awhile at the campsite managed by Nambia Wildlife Resorts for a day or two.
Contact us for more information about Sesriem or for assistance in arranging a self-drive or guided tour to Sesriem.