Composition in red and black

Dead Vlei is a beautiful, surreal basin surrounded by sand dunes in Namib-Naukluft Park on the west coast of Africa and in the world’s oldest desert

© action press

With daytime temperatures frequently hitting 50° Celsius, nighttime frosts, swirling sandstorms and no rain for years on end, Dead Vlei (a vlei is a marsh or lake) is arid and bleak, but utterly fascinating. Situated at the edge of one of the world’s largest sand dunes (called Big Daddy or sometimes Crazy Dune), it’s a place where camel thorn trees stretch their dead, baked limbs toward the sky, forming bizarre sculptures that bear witness to the life-giving Tsauchab River that flowed here thousands of years ago.