It’s not unusual to hear, before leaving for Namibia, about the power of its “crazy skies”. One also hears of the “spell” of the sands in the oldest desert in the world, where the colours change as they choose. What mysteries are hidden in Namibia?
‘Dune 45’ is one of the places which the great professional photographers appreciate the most. It has the benefit of an exceptionally photogenic position due to its altitude, shape, colour and surroundings. Because of the combing that the wind gives it. Because of the beauty of the waves, of this sea of sand. It is about eighty metres high, and a traveller who is physically fit can reach its summit. The sunrise there is one of the most beautiful imaginable. It is the most famous dune in Namibia.
It is not the only attraction in this central area of the Namib Desert, which crosses this country of southern Africa from north to south, parallel to the Atlantic coastline. Another of the attractions in this part of Africa, called Sossusvlei, is Deadvlei. A terrace of dry earth – which, centuries ago, was a lagoon ‒ and where some of the trees have been dead for centuries, but whose trunks and boughs have resisted the passage of time because of the intense heat that they receive, and because of the dryness of the atmosphere.
Also of great interest is the Sesriem Canyon, which has been excavated over thousands of years by the River Tsauchab, which flows from the west during periods of heavy rain. The waters of the river flow into vleis, or small lagoons in the middle of the desert, and thanks to the shade from the canyon’s walls (which prevents evaporation) the river flows without interruption, although sometimes it is only a trickle.
However, without a doubt, the prize goes to the great multi-coloured stretch of sand which covers almost all of the region. The oxidation of the iron in the sand and the generalised high mineralization of the region endow it with tones of extraordinary beauty which sometimes change, apparently at random, from maroon to apricot. Colours which contrast sharply when the dry land meets some great, whitish-yellow salt flats that remind us that here, too, there was once a sea, perhaps at the beginning of time.
One can enjoy all this from exotic Little Kulala, with its glazed rooms, enjoying and dreaming about an environment as spectacular as it is unique. A campsite from which to make an excursion in a hot-air balloon or light aircraft, to observe, from another perspective, the immensity of this African land that suffers under the sun of the Tropic of Capricorn, and to which the Benguela current, flowing down the Atlantic coast, brings so little rain.
The clear, starry sky is another consequence of this marked absence of humidity. Visibility is usually almost total. The clearness of the nights is astonishing. The brightness of the incandescent celestial canopy. That is why Sossusvlei again becomes a very special place for lovers of photography. One drools over the sunsets. In few places on the Planet can one capture nightfall so clearly.
"Sossusvlei is a sea of dunes, where a painter called Nature is continuously playing with the shades of her palette. Can you see how I returned enraptured from Namibia? I can’t even describe what I experienced and how I felt in Little Kulala".
Elvira R. Lawyer, Sant Cugat del Vallès
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