The landscapes of Namibia owe much of their distinctive nature to the long and complex geological history. Some of the rocks of Namibia are as much as 2,600 million years old! Tectonic compression has resulted in uplifting of many mountain ranges with exposed bedrock and large rift valleys. The extreme heat and lack of precipitation resulted in the Namib and Kalahari deserts, which are home to the world’s oldest and highest sand dunes (in excess of 400 metres). Ancient clay pans have formed – the largest across Northern Namibia forming the Etosha National Park. Smaller clay pans are found in central and southern Namibia and we enjoyed photographing Deadvlei from dawn to dusk on several days. The skeletal trees are ancient camel thorn trees that flourished 900 years ago when the pan was full of water: now the conditions are so dry that the trees do not rot. The cold Atlantic Benguela current meets the heat of the desert in North West Namibia and creates a strange microclimate with ever-present fog – the Skeleton Coast. This microclimate supports a population of hundreds of species of lichens, Namibia’s only endemic bird and a colony of 200,000 Cape fur seals. The Skeleton Coast is one of the most treacherous coastlines in the world with rocky reefs and sand dunes stretching into the sea spelling disaster for any vessel that gets caught up in the gale-force winds and all-enveloping sea fogs. Once ashore there is no water or habitation to assist shipwrecked sailors.
© Gigi & Robin Williams Photography