19 images. Symbolically, 19 is a number of completion; 1 signifying the beginning, and 9 the end.
The area of Sossusvlei belongs to the southern Namib desert. High orange sand dunes which indicate a high concentration of iron and consequent oxidation in the sand, with the oldest dunes having a more intense reddish colour, populate the landscape. Many of the dunes are above 200 metres, the highest being the one nicknamed Big Daddy, about 325 metres high. The are colossal creatures, ever shifting, ever changing, however slowly.
The highest and more stable dunes are partially covered with a relatively rich vegetation, which is mainly watered by a number of underground and ephemeral rivers that seasonally flood the pans, creating marshes that are locally known as vlei. When dry, these pans look almost white in color, due to the high concentration of salt. Another relevant source of water for Sossusvlei is the humidity brought by the daily morning fogs that enter the desert from the Atlantic Ocean – also responsible for the ethereal haze in the morning.
The desert is a place of clarity and purity. It is minimal in its aesthetic; challenging yet peaceful. Its inhabitants face daily struggle and hardship, hidden beneath the pristine beauty. When the sun emerges and casts its warm light over these barren stretches of nowhere, the pastels make it seem innocent, safe even, leading to the many, many layers of contrasts found in this landscape – apparent and subtle. Yet, I think our minds understand, and this is why we are in such awe of this sort of landscape. To some extent, the desert is our lives, and it is us, and we are faced with ourselves here, as much as with breathtaking and soul-caressing beauty.
The highlight to any trip to Namibia will always be the desert and its serene beauty. Remember to enquire if any of the images speak to you.