Dead Vlei
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The Dunes at Deadvlei
[I lifted the description from Wikipedia. Definitely come here if you're in Namibia. There are quite a few tourists so if you do, come early and go with a proper outfitter, you can have more solitude and an easier time getting in.] Deadvlei is a white clay pan located near the more famous salt pan of Sossusvlei, inside the Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia. Also written DeadVlei or Dead Vlei, its name means "dead marsh" (from English dead, and Afrikaans vlei, a lake or marsh in a valley between the dunes). The pan also is referred to as "Dooie Vlei" which is the (presumably original) fully Afrikaans name. Dead Vlei has been claimed to be surrounded by the highest sand dunes in the world, the highest reaching 300-400 meters (350m on average, named "Big Daddy" or "Crazy Dune"), which rest on a sandstone terrace. The clay pan was formed after rainfall, when the Tsauchab river flooded, creating temporary shallow pools where the abundance of water allowed camel thorn trees to grow. When the climate changed, drought hit the area, and sand dunes encroached on the pan, which blocked the river from the area. The remaining skeletons of the trees, which are believed to be about 900 years old, are now black because the intense sun has scorched them. Though not petrified, the wood does not decompose because it is so dry.
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The trees of Deadvlei
One of the world's best photography spots, Deadvlei in Sossusvlei, Namibia, lives up to the hype. Where once a river ran, a drought and blowing sand from dunes covered this artery for life hundreds of years ago, and all that remain are these tree carcasses, begging to be preserved digitally in the photo albums of visiting tourists.
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