Dead Vlei, Namibia - Amazing World
25-07-2018    65 times
Dead Vlei Namibia

Located inside the Naukluft National Park in Namibia, Deadvlei is a mysterious white clay pan, characterised by dark, dead camel thorn trees, which are killed by severe drought 600 years ago, but still standing, petrified. Also known as DeadVlei or Dead Vlei, which means ‘dead marsh’, it has been hailed as being surrounded by the world's largest sand dunes, where the largest known as ‘Big Daddy’ or ‘Crazy Dune’ reaches the astonishing height of 300 to 400 meters.

Dead Vlei Namibia
Dead Vlei Namibia

It is believed that, when the Tsauchab River flooded, it formed shallow and temporary pools in the area where the abundance of water allowed camel thorn trees, a species of acacias (Acacia erioloba), to grow. However, as a result of climatic change, the area became dry and sand dunes encroached on the pan, which blocked the flow of water from the river. Due to the consequent aridity, most of the plants died for non availability of sufficient water. Only a few species, like ’Salsola’ and clumps of ‘Nara’ survives, as they could adapt surviving off the morning mist and very rare rainfall.

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Gradually, the remaining skeletons of the dead trees became black, burned by the extreme heat of the sun. Nevertheless, not petrified, the wood does not decompose because it is so dry. With the black skeletons of trees scattered across the white soil, the region looks weird as if a strange territory from some other planet.

Dead Vlei Namibia
Dead Vlei Namibia
Dead Vlei Namibia

The gate of the Naukluft National Park, which includes the Deadvlei, is near the village of Sesriem. Even during the winter, the weather is extremely hot. As there is no source of water in the area, visitors are advised to carry at least two liters of water. Apart from that, they should be also equipped with sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and long-sleeved dresses.

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To get to Deadvlei, the visitors need to walk about half an hour from the carpark area over a few low dunes. It is a photographer’s paradise in the early hours of the day. Once in the middle of Deadvlei, one can feel the true meaning of ‘silence’, which is quite different from the silence of a city. There are no birds, no voice, no sound of engines or exhaust pipes, ringing phones or the sound of every day routines. It is almost impossible to describe the grandeur of the giant mountains of rusty sand, shaped into crescents and waves by the Atlantic wind. No language in the world, despite its lyrical sweetness and endless richness, can describe the magical contrasts of the salt-white pan and inky trees of Deadvlei, set against the fiery dunes. For the rational people,  Deadvlei are just some dry, salt-and-clay pans surrounded by big dunes. For the others, it is a surreal landscape, a natural wonder that defies description.

Dead Vlei Namibia
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Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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