Namib Desert. Where is the Namib Desert?
One of the most dry and unsightly places to live on our planet is the desert. It is characterized by a flat surface, a very specific flora and fauna. There are rocky, saline, snow, clay and sandy deserts. They occupy 20% of all land on the planet. One of the brightest representatives of the sandy deserts is the Namib.
The unusual name of the Namib Desert comes from the word from the language of the Nama people, which means "a place where there is nothing." The formation of the Namib Desert began millions of years ago in a world ruled by dinosaurs. A characteristic feature for it is an extremely small amount of precipitation (no more than 13 mm per year). This led to the fact that people in this area practically do not live. The exceptions are only a few cities located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The Namib Desert is the oldest on the planet. Such a long period of existence could not but affect the living inhabitants of this place,Therefore, here you can find several species of animals and plants that are endemic, that is, the range of their distribution is limited only by the Namib desert. Over the centuries, they invented mechanisms that help them survive in such a harsh climate. The reasons for the formation of the Namib Desert are different. But the main one is the proximity to the Bengal Current, which runs near the southern shores of the African continent.
Physical geographical location
Where is the Namib desert located? The question is quite simple. It is located in southwest Africa. Geographers divide it into three zones. They look like lanes that run along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The first of these is the coastal strip. It is very narrow, and the ocean acts directly upon it. The second is the external Namib. It is located in the west of the desert. The latter is the inner Namib, which has the most continental location. Between these parts there are areas of transition. The desert landscape is diverse. Here you can find rocky mountains, in which several rivers cut deep gorges over long centuries.But most of this place is covered with yellow or red sand. It was washed out from the river Orange and other water streams that flow in a westerly direction. The Namib Desert also boasts the world's highest dune. Its height is 383 m.
If water is found in this place, then it falls here from the inland plateau. Deep rivers are very rare, there are only two of them. The first is the Orange, which flows on the border with the Republic of South Africa. The second is Kunene, which carries its waters on the border with Angola. But several times a year, a miracle happens, and powerful rains pass over the desert, which fill even the smallest channels. They rarely reach the ocean, more often they are simply lost among sand dunes. Interesting is that sometimes water seeps under the sand and flows there, forming a drain. People use these underground streams for the water supply of the few villages that exist here.
The coastal zone of the Namib desert is practically devoid of rain at all. But due to the proximity of the ocean, the humidity here is always high and almost corresponds to the norm.The Bengal current cools the air currents, resulting in thick fogs. Therefore, shipping in this area is very limited, ship wrecks often occur. The air temperature practically does not change with the change of the time of year, nor with the change of day and night. It constantly keeps in limits from +10 to +16 degrees Celsius. Inland areas of the desert warm up to +31, and places that are completely devoid of ocean influence, swelled from +38 and above. At night, the Namib desert will force an unprepared wanderer to tremble, because in some places the temperature drops to 0 degrees. The rain in this place is very rare. It does not happen over the years. But if he goes, it will be a huge downpour. Saving for all living things is morning dew. For flora and fauna, it is even more important than rare precipitation.
Animals and plants
Desert vegetation depends on the area in which it grows. Succulents live near the ocean. They are able to get water from dew and fog. Exterior Namib has practically no vegetation. The steppe zone may remain naked for years, but with the arrival of the rains, perennial and annual low grasses bloom here, which escape from the sun underground.Surprisingly, the dunes are also covered with many types of tall grasses and shrubs. Trees can grow on the banks of rivers. The most common here is acacia. In the south, there are shrubs that live from the winter rains and are able to endure the summer heat. One of the most interesting and unique plants thriving here is the tumboa (velvichia). It consists of only two huge sheets that grow slowly over 1000 years, or even more. But the sheets reach no more than three meters in length, as they are erased by the wind. The fauna consists of several species of antelopes, ostriches, elephants, rhinos, lions, hyenas, jackals, and sometimes zebras. Also, there are some mosquitoes, spiders, geckos and snakes.
The Namib Desert was not inhabited until the 20th century. Only nomads from the San people (Bushmen) appeared on its territory only occasionally. Here they collected everything that can be eaten, and used the juice of local plants as water. At present, there are several settlements, but most of this desert still remains deserted. Farms that specialize in growing desert sheep are founded in the steppe areas.From the northern and central territories they made a reserve zone, which is designed to preserve the rarest animals and plants. The land between the Orange and Kuseib rivers is a closed area, as diamonds are mined here. The Namib Desert has only four large cities. The first of these is Swakopmund. It is considered the summer capital of Namibia. This is a resort town. But its development is also associated with nearby uranium mines. The port city is Walvis Bay. He was joined to Namibia only in 1994. Another small port in the south of the country is Luderitz. It is famous for catching and processing lobsters. Oranjemund is located at the mouth of the Orange River. Its population is involved in diamond mining, which is famous for the Namib Desert. Photos show that it intersects several asphalt roads and railways.
Thus, among all the deserts Namib stands out primarily for its age. It is also a habitat for plants and animals that you will not see anywhere else in the world.