The French tourist, who died four days ago in Dead Vlei south of Sossusvlei, was seriously ill. According to the autopsy, the 54-year-old suffered from advanced liver cirrhosis.

The circumstances surrounding his death were a mystery. He had separated from his tour group while climbing the largest dune “Big Daddy”. Contrary to the instructions of the guide, he did not return to the parking lot. Instead, he wandered to the other end of the Dead Vlei. After an extensive search with ground troops and helicopters, he was only found there the following day.

Illness concealed

The guide had to justify himself against allegations of having let his guest hike alone. However, the other members of the group confirmed that the parking lot could be seen very clearly from the point of separation.

You can’t get lost in the salt pan surrounded by dunes. In addition, two full water bottles were found on the dead man.

The tourist had concealed his serious illness from the tour operator as well as the guide and the other members of the tour group.

This report will be published, in a slightly modified form, with further news stories on travel and nature in Namibia,
in the column “Reise Aktuell” in the print edition of Namibiamagazin no. 4/2021 (in German only).

Dead Vlei Sossusvlei Dune Namib

Salt pan of death: The Dead Vlei south of Sossusvlei in the Dune Namib. Photo: Sven-Eric Stender