Rain in Swakopmund

I still remember my first time to Swakopmund. I was coming down to the coast from Windhoek within about the first month that I had arrived in Namibia. I had to come and help with a set up for a desert function.

I grew up in the Kaisut desert, and it's rather arid, and we had the Chalbi just north of us, which is a really amazing and strange. But driving down to Swakopmund was really strange.

The Namib Desert around Swakopmund is mainly composed of gravel plains, with the dune field lying to the south. When I say gravel, it's not really gravel, it's more a sandy, gypsum crust.

It creates a whitish surface. In the Kaisut we would get around 100mm average annual rainfall. That's dry. In Swakopmund, it's more like 14mm average annual rainfall. That isn't rain. It means that at times there are years that go by without rain. There is a significant amount of precipitation from fog off the cold Benguela current. It's about 25mm.

So it's a dry, dry place with strange gypsum plains and frequent fog. Recently we had about a week of rain (not sure if it's ended yet.) I don't know how much feel. But it's kind of strange to be here when it rains. Swakopmund still has mainly gravel roads, but they are bound with salt. Yes, you can almost watch rust develop...it's crazy.

There isn't any proper drainage from the roads, or even from buildings or anything. When it does rain, the town becomes one big mess.

The picture shows the road outside our house after it has dried out. In the morning it had been a challenge to drive on, through the muck.

Rain on a road in Swakopmund
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