Photographer's Note

It's a year since we visited Sossusvlei after unusually heavy rains. This rainy season the rains have been good but not exceptional. We have a short Namibian highlights trip organised in s few weeks time when our son and his partner visit us. She will see Namibia for the first time but I don't think she will see Sossusvlei like this.

The Sossusvlei, Namibia's famous scenic highlight in the heart of the Namib Desert, is a huge clay pan, enclosed by giant sand dunes. Some of the spectacular dunes reach a height of 300 metres, which makes them the highest dunes in the world.

The dunes of the Namib desert have developed over a period of many millions of years. Vast quantities of sand were deposited into the Alantic Ocean by the Orange river. This material was subsequently moved northwards by the Benguela current to be dumped back onto the land by the surf. The coastal sand was then continuously shifted further inland by the wind.

Wind permanently reshapes the patterns of the Namib dunes. It timelessly forces the grains of sand on the flat windward slope upwards to the crest of the dune. Here they fall down in the wind shade. The leeward slope is therefore always considerably steeper than the windward side.

The clay ground of the Sossusvlei is almost always dry. Only after a heavy rainfall, which is a rare event in this area, every ten years in average, does the vlei fill with water. As the clay layers hardly allow any water infiltration, a turquoise lake will remain for quite some time.

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Additional Photos by Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2806 W: 84 N: 6959] (31631)
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