Namibia Part Three: The Namib Desert

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One of the coolest experiences of this trip was sleeping outside on a large boulder under the Namibian stars. Spitzkoppe is known as a star gazer’s paradise and the pointed mountain is called the “Matterhorn of Namibia” located in the Namib Desert. Watching both the sunset and sunrise from our sleeping bags was something special.

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Luckily, one of the guys on our trip was able to snag some pretty awesome night shots! Thanks Ross!

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The next day, we drove further into the desert to Cape Cross Seal Reserve where the stench and guttural moans of thousands of seals greeted us. The seals at Cape Cross are unique in that they have external ear lobes.

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Afterwards, we drove to see a ship wreck along the Skeleton Coast.

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We stayed in Swakopmund for three nights for a much welcomed real bed. We didn’t do a whole lot other than walk around town and do some café hopping.

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We drove further into the Namib Desert, deep into dune country. Bid Daddy is the tallest dune in the area at 375 meters tall. Big Mama is the next tallest dune. Dune 7 is the tallest dune in Namibia, which we drove past on our drive. We climbed to the top of Dune 45 for sunrise before heading towards Big Daddy and Deadvlei.

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Deadvlei is a dried up salt pan. It was once part of the river, but the dunes migrated into the river’s path blocking it, thereby drying up the river bed. The trees in Deadvlei died over 500 years ago when the water table dropped too low for survival, but they have been standing for 880 years.

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The annual rainfall in the Namib Desert is less than 100 mm per year but because the rate of evaporation is 3500 times that of the rate of precipitation, the rain never hits the ground.

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The Sahara Desert is approximately the same distance north of the equator as the Kalihari and Namib Deserts are south of the equator. All of these deserts are increasing in size every year.

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The sand of the dunes is shiny due to mica and also magnetic due to the magnetite. The iron particles in the sand become oxidized and more red over time, therefore the older dunes in the east are more red in color compared to the white dunes of the coastline.

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The scenery in Namibia was absolutely stunning and reminded us quite a bit of southern Utah.

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We then stopped in an odd town called Solitaire, much like Marfa in Texas. Middle of nowhere, weird art installation pieces, lots of desert, and windmills.

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