Simply Sand

Sand is sort of normal stuff.  Go out in the garden, and I would guess that you can find some sand.  But to me it's become rather special stuff.

The Namib Sand Sea is Namibia's largest dune field.  It stretches some 400 kilometers from north to south and varies in width but at it's widest is over a hundred kilometers from east to west.

Two ephemeral rivers run dead within the dune field.  Near Solitare, a river called the Tsondab river flows out of the mountains to the east and flows into a rather large gap in the dune field, ending around 60 kilometers from the ocean, where the dunes overcome it.  This area is not open to the public, but to the south there is another river that does the same thing...perhaps in more spectacular fashion.

The Tsauchab river runs past Sesriem and into a gap between the dunes and finally ends at Sossusvlei.  The valley's walls are made up of the most impressive dunes.  Here simple sand creates a natural display that must be one of the most beautiful places on the plannet.

But that's not all the Namib Sand Sea has to offer.  If you are lucky enough to do a scenic flight over the dune field, one reaches the ocean.  In places the dunes give way to flat gravel planes with some shifting sand.  There are a few masive shipwreks along the coast, now well inland from the water due to the land that has been added to the shore by new sand.

But in other places the dunes run right up to the ocean, creating a wall of sand towering over the beaches in low tide, and have the waves crush at their feet in high tides.

To the north is the area known as Sandwich harbor, which has a lagoon area set alongside the dunes.  You can do a day tour out there from the coastal towns of Swakopmund or Walvis bay.

Near Walvis Bay is the Gobabeb Research and Resource center, which means that these dunes, and the Namib Desert as a whole, is a very well known desert.

To the south the town of Ludritiz sits south of the dune field.  Here sand blows northwards into the dune field and is the area that has the most frequent sandstorms.  A derelict diamond town, Kolmanskop sits nearby, now with dune sand blowing through the houses.

On the eastern margin of the dune field are partly vegetated sand dunes.  Here the sand is at it's reddest, and  because this is the desert's highest rainfall region, this area has the most life.  It is this area that I know and love the most.

Cetainly the best was to experience these dunes is to visit the NamibRand Nature reserve and spend a couple of nights there.  Both for photography the amazing life in the dunes, each creature finding it's own way to battle out a living in this sandy habitat.

The Namib Sand Sea is a treasure to Namibia.  If you plan to visit Namibia, come and see this amazing bit of sand.
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Namib Naturalist said...

Testing my own comments