Before we reached the legendary red dunes, the land was less harsh with a little more
greenery showing. In addition, we saw several of the chalk white salt pans created
by the migrating dunes which dam up rivers, even small rivulets of water during
the rainy season, and prevent those waters from reaching the sea or a larger river. As
these waters evaporate during the dry season, the salt percolates out and leaves these
“dead vleis” or salt pans.
The red dunes rose up like the Rockies when you approach them from
Calgary. Suddenly, there they are even though the land was pancake flat as we
drove between Sossusvlei and the coastal area. This is the area of the world where
stand the tallest sand dunes in the world. Their sides are steep but silky looking and
the sun and the shadows make magic of their curves and slumps and sharp crests.
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