Namib Sand Sea




Found along the South Atlantic coast of Namibia in Africa, the majestic dunes of the Namib Sand Sea comprise an area of over 3 million hectares.  It is composed of two dune systems, one 21 million years old and the other dating back five million years.  Found in one of the world’s only coastal deserts, the Namib Sand Sea is unusual in that it runs right into the ocean.


While most sand dunes elsewhere in the world occur due to the erosion of bedrock, the dune field in Namibia has resulted from the transportation of material from thousands of kilometers away in the interior of the African continent via river erosion and wind.  Rising to a height of 250 meters in some places, the dunes are constantly shifting forms. The sand changes color across the sand sea, moving from white close to the ocean to pink farther inland, creating a breathtaking landscape.


Being a desert, the area is extremely arid, however water is present in the form of fog, caused by the cold Benguella current in the nearby Atlantic Ocean. This has resulted in the existence of about 300 species of life forms, invertebrates, reptiles and mammals, of which 50% are found only in this area.  The unique conditions have resulted in these life forms taking on rare behavior in order to live on little water in a sandy landscape that is both very hot and very cold, and their existence is an important example of evolution and the adaptation of life in an extreme environment.




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