A Forest Frozen in Time – Namibia

The Namib Desert is a stunning place to visit. With endless giant sand dunes, rusted red by the iron content of the area, you find yourself mesmerised by the way they curve and lean with the wind, growing higher and higher by the day as each tiny particle of sand is deposited on the top.

Amidst the towering red dunes of the Namib-Naklauft National Park lies the haunting and spectacular Deadvlei. Deadvlei means dead marsh (from the English dead and the Afrikaans vlei). Where there was once a sticky marsh, now lies a dry white clay pan, surrounded by some of the highest sand dunes in the world.

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It is believed that the clay pan formed more than a thousand years ago, when the Tsauchab river flooded after heavy rainfall and created shallow pools of water. In these marshes the camel thorn trees grew. But after around 200 years, the climate changed. Drought struck the area. The sand dunes soon blocked off the Tsaucheb river and any water from the once luscious marsh.

With no water, the trees were unable to survive. But they did not disappear. In the harsh climate the trees dried out instead of decomposing, and the desert sun scorched them into blackened bones, never to vanish from the earth.

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As the giant sand dunes grow taller and taller over the years, they need a bigger footprint. It is believed that in years to come, the trees of the Deadvlei will be swallowed up by the dunes.

But for now all that remains are 900 year old tree skeletons trapped in a white clay marsh, set against red rusted dunes and a brilliant blue sky.

A forest frozen in time.

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