We flew over the Namib desert (Namibia) in a small craft, just the two of us and the pilot, a young woman who knew the area well.
Here we are flying over the area of dead trees in a clay pan featured in yesterday’s post.
We continued to fly west over patterns of desert ridges towards the Atlantic.
These dead trees in the Namib Desert area of Namibia are not petrified, but are believed to be 600-700 years old. Scorched by the sun, they stand in a clay pan and remain undecayed because of the hot, dry climate.
Nearby is a broad vista of the clay and sand terrain.
This oryx (also called a gemsbok) has found a good resting spot near the dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia. He is keeping an eye on me, but is reluctant to leave his comfortable place in the shade.
The dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia are national treasures reaching over 1,000 feet tall. But even though they have all been named (or numbered), they are not static landmarks. Desert winds are always working to alter the dunes’ dramatic shapes and form ripples of sand on the desert floor.
Trees that have found water deep underground cast their shadows on the hot sands of the Namib Desert.
As we are suspended above the earth in a hot air balloon at sunrise, the desert floats by in continuously changing frames.
Natural processes leave behind their abstract patterns in the earth.
Not many cars pass along these intersecting roads, which stand out strikingly against the desert sands.
Rocks and dunes rise from the desert floor. Small rivulets in the sand are traces of past rains and ridges on the dunes are reminders of the desert winds.
On a highway leading from the Namibian capital, Windhoek, to the Namib desert, we stopped at an isolated, iconic settlement aptly named Solitaire. It reminded me of the roadhouses off the beaten track in Australia. Food, gasoline, and gift items are sold. The settlement is somewhat of a memorial to the first owner, now deceased, who kept his used cars and trucks and left them all over the property. Apparently, this same owner created the best apple pie in the world. That’s what our guide (and a sign over the door) told us.
Before we leave Damaraland, here are two more early morning shots of the Namibian landscape.
Once again, we see the moon setting over hills above the red rock desert…
… and the morning sun shining on acacia trees and desert brush.
The terrain in Namibia’s Damaraland region features rocky rolling hills and desert vegetation surviving the worst drought in the country’s recent history. It is a landscape dotted with animals that are free to roam. They are not confined to game parks, but may be protected in other ways (as I will mention in a bit).
No animals are visible in this typical landscape, but you can bet some are hiding in the bushes!
A stationary springbok is a rare thing. They are usually seen leaping like ballerinas across the bush. The name “springbok” has everything to do with their mode of transportation and nothing to do with the season of the year! In the distance, a pair of zebras graze along a ridge.
At last, we achieved our wonderful guide’s main goal for the morning: to see some black rhinos. We learned that black rhinos are actually grey, as are white rhinos, with the primary difference being the shape of the upper lip. This little family consists of a mother, baby, and adolescent son. The son had apparently left the mom for a while and then returned. Rhinos are greatly endangered due to the black market in rhino horn; and in this area they are protected by an armed, anti-poaching team from multiple disciplines.