On Top of the World: Deadvlei & Crazy Dune, Namibia
Wind, fire and water fashioned these dunes over millions of years, forming peaks up to 1,000 feet. Seasonal winds carried sand westward from the Kalahari desert, while the Benguela current from South Africa’s shores blew in sand off the Atlantic coast. These dunes are thought to be the highest in the world, and are some of the oldest on earth. Over time, changing winds shifted their growth and direction.
At Deadvlei, the dunes choked off ancient riverbeds, leaving behind 500 year old skeletons of Camel Thorn trees standing on sun-baked mud tiles. Towering over the gnarled starkness of these trees rise Crazy Dune, over 1,000 feet tall looking like a mountain constantly flowing down into the span of sun-baked clay below. How can the top of the world feel so liquid and unstable?
(For reference and scale, there is a person standing on the front dune ridge in the lower-left part of the frame.)