I had an amazing trip to the Namib Desert recently. The oldest desert in the world, the Namib is where the Tsauchab river ends, seeping into the ground amid towering ochre dunes. A few gnarled, dried camelthorn trees stand on the baked clay pans that explode into blossom just a few weeks per year. Surely by now you’ve seen the famous National Geographic photo of the acacias at Deadvlei, about a kilometer from its more famous cousin, Sossusvlei.
A unique opportunity if you visit the [Namib-Naukluft] park which houses the desert and its “vleis” (from the Dutch “vallei”) is to experience it all by air. While the hot air balloon can be a bit spendy, flying over the park in a 5-seat Cessna is pretty reasonable. But if you do it, be sure and spend the extra amount to go all the way to the coast, rather than flying out to Sossusvlei and back. At the coast, you can see the “Lange Wand” or “long wall” where dunes hundreds of meters tall end abruptly at the south Atlantic. And then, circling back inland, the so-called “fairy circles” – thousands of circles in the yellow grass which look like giant raindrops have removed the vegetation.
I took along a Flip camera, and though it’s a bit shaky, here’s a video. If you want to see photos, check out my Sossusvlei Catalog on Photoshop.com.