red dunes of sossusvlei
In October 2009, I traveled to Namibia to fulfil some lifelong dreams of seeing the red sand dunes of Sossusvlei. I'd seen a single aerial photograph of the dunes, and instantly fell in love with the shapes, colours and contours of the desert landscape. I would learn that there is so much more beauty in the surrounding lands, from Spitzkoppe to Solitaire.
Sossusvlei means 'dead end marsh' as it is the drainage basin for the ephemeral Tsauchab River. It is a clay pan, covered in a crust of salt-rich sand. The highest dune in the Sossusvlei area is Big Daddy at a height of 325 metres. It faces a similarly high dune named Big Mama. There's also Dune 45, located at the 45th kilometre of the road to Sossusvlei. It is an 80 metre high star dune composed of 5 million year old sand.
I would return to the area in March 2018 and spend two weeks doing a self-drive tour across Namibia. On this return trip, I would take a hot air balloon flight, as well as an aerial safari, over the dunes to finally replicate that image I'd seen years before that spurred the original journey. My return visit is documented in my upcoming self-published photography coffee table book entitled Everyday Africa, where I traveled from Cairo to Cape Town over five months by overland truck.