In the tribal language of the Nama, Namib means “vast place”. At a bit over 31,000 square miles with less than 5 mm (0.19 inches) of rain a year in some parts, vast seems like a good word to use. For a photographer it’s an abstract dreamscape. 1000 foot high sand dunes with razor sharp peaks, 700 year old dead trees that are preserved by the desert air, clay pans that turn blue in the shade, red dunes that glow orange in the morning sun … I could happily photograph here for the rest of my life.
Amazingly this arid wilderness does sustain life. The aardwolf, a member of the hyena family, survives on termites, while the Oryx can survive purely on the moisture that it gets from eating the sparse desert grasses.
Notes: The first and fifth images in this post are my re-interpretation of my friend Frans Lanting’s “Ghost Trees” image. If you ever happen to be in Namibia, I suggest hooking up with Vernon Swanepoel – he’s been guiding in the Namib for almost 20 years.