Debate has arisen in the tourism sector of Namibia as to whether Sossusvlei is being damaged by excessive tourism. Some such as Ben Beytel, former Director of Parks and Wildlife Management in the Namibian Ministry of Tourism believes this is the case. He says that heavy traffic and increases in the number of lodges was harming the environment, endangering the wildlife in the area and destroying the roads. His solution to this problem is to charge a higher rate for entry to the park for heavy vehicles.
But many within the tourism industry disagree with Beytel and claim that Sossusvlei is by no means at risk of becoming a mass tourism destination. The area is quite vast, explains Chris McIntyre, MD of Expert Africa. He says that even when most lodges are fully occupied, it is very rare for one to have the impression that it is too crowded. “At the 2WD car park beside Sossusvlei it can seem busy occasionally, but further inland it’s rarely crowded. However, when one goes for a ‘wilderness’ experience some people would comment that even seeing a single other person is one too many,” he adds.