DEAD VLEI, SOSSUSVLEI AREA, NAUKLUFT NATIONAL PARK, NAMIBIA
CAMEL THORN TREE, ACACIA ERIOLOBA

Lasting for over nine centuries as beacons of a glorious past a group of camel thorn tree skeletons are a reminder that Dead Vlei in the Namib Desert was an oasis of life a Millennium ago.

Dead Vlei is a clay pan surrounded by the large dunes of the Namib Desert. It was formed by a flood of the Tsauchab river some one thousand years ago. The temporary shallow pools at the time was all that was needed for camel thorn trees to grow in the pan. A climate change however brought on a drought and eventually encroaching sand dunes blocked the river's access to the area. The absence of fresh water and no occurrence of reachable ground water was the death sentence for the camel thorn trees. They turned into ancient sculptures of the desert and are believed to be over 900 years old.

As one of the most photographed spots in Namibia there are many excellent images of Dead Vlei; most of them show the pan with the trees set against the red dunes. I wanted to get a different atmosphere and choose to concentrate on one tree's roots and show it as an eternal sculpture of the desert and memory of a more glorious past. This may sound somewhat dramatic but to imagine that these trees grew nearly a millenium ago and still stand after all this time amazes me.

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