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The Namib Sand Sea

The World in a Grain of Sand

The sun rises suddenly in the desert: within an hour its rays are beating hammer blows down onto the Namib’s surface. It is hard to believe anything could survive out here. Flying over the Namib sand sea that surrounds Sossusvlei you can only marvel at the sheer extent of this arid vastness.

It is a wind driven system, one created by wind and maintained by wind. The sand comes from erosion deep in the southern African interior, from where it is carried by the Gariep, or Great, River, to the Atlantic coastline. The sand, along with an untold wealth in diamonds, has been dispersed along the coastline by the relentless, icy cold Benguela current. When it makes landfall the prevailing southwest wind is there to welcome it and usher it inland and ever northwards on its way.

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