Wadi Rum Sunset Panorama

Wadi Rum Sunset Panorama

Wadi Rum was one of the highlights of my visit to Jordan. I spent one night camping in the desert and watched the sunset from the top of a rocky outcrop. The weather was perfect – cloudless and not too warm. A few other people were around (at the base of the outcrop on the left and some on the plain below), but otherwise it was a very tranquil and peaceful spot. A highly recommended experience for anyone visiting Jordan!

Namibia | Hiddenvlei Tree

Namibia | Hiddenvlei Tree

Hiddenvlei is located near Sossusvlei in the Namib desert in southern Namibia.

The word “vlei” comes from Afrikaans and means “marsh”. There are several “vleis” around Sossusvlei – the main ones are Sossusvlei, Deadvlei, and Hiddenvlei. These were all wet salt and clay pans at one point, but over time have dried up, leaving behind surreal landscapes.

This picture was shot at Hiddenvlei in the afternoon, with one of the beautiful twisted trees standing in front of a sand dune catching the late afternoon sunrays.

Namib Desert – Pachydactylus Rangei (Gecko)

Namib Desert - Pachydactylus Rangei (Gecko)

We spent a couple of nights in the coastal town of Swakopmund, and did a Living Desert tour one morning. The tour is highly recommended, partly because of the desert and wildlife, and partly because Chris, the tour leader, does such a great job.

As part of the tour we saw this little guy – a gecko (Pachydactylus Rangei). They are quite unique as they have webbed feet to allow them to move through the sand better. They are nocturnal animals, so during the day they bury themselves in the sand dunes to hide from predators. They are also able to lick their eyes to clean them in case any sand gets stuck to them, since geckos do not have eyelids. Oh, and apparently this is a female – the males are supposed to be more colorful!

Dune 45

Dune 45

Dune 45 is a famous sand dune located in the Sossusvlei area of the Namib Desert of Namibia. It is one of the most popular dunes to climb in the Sossusvlei park.

The name comes from the fact that it is located at the 45th km mark after the entrance to the Sossusvlei park.

This was shot near sunset as the light turned golden, using a super wide angle Tokina lens (11-16mm).

Namaqua Chameleon

Namaqua Chameleon

We spent a couple of nights in the coastal town of Swakopmund, and did a Living Desert tour one morning. The tour is highly recommended, partly because of the desert and wildlife, and partly because Chris, the tour leader, does such a great job.

As part of the tour we saw two of these little guys – Namaqua Chameleons.

Namib Desert Oryx

Namib Desert Oryx

The Namib Desert is considered to be the oldest desert in the world, having endured arid conditions for 55-80 million years.

The Gemsbok, or Oryx, is a common sight in this arid climate, surviving on the dry grass and the small amounts of water available at watering holes.

This one was spotted on the drive from Sossusvlei back to the main entrance to the park, with a spectacular backdrop of sand dunes.

Wadi Rum Cat

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During my visit to Jordan a couple of years ago, I spent 2 days in the desert in Wadi Rum.  At the beginning of my visit I was taken to this rocky outcrop, with stunning views of the surrounding desert, with steep rocky hills in the distance.  It’s a very harsh, barren landscape – so I was extremely surprised to suddenly see a cat appear from the shade of the rocks ahead of me!  She wasn’t hungry or thirsty, she was just happy to have some company!

Namib Desert – Hiddenvlei

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Another shot from the Sossuvlei area of the Namib Desert in Namibia, this time in Hiddenvlei.  The word “vlei” comes from Afrikaans and means “marsh”.  There are several “vleis” around Sossusvlei – the main ones are Sossusvlei, Deadvlei, and Hiddenvlei.  These all were wet salt and clay pans at one point, but over time have dried up, leaving behind surreal landscapes.

Hiddenvlei is a short walk from the 2WD parking in Sossusvlei – we got there in the afternoon, so even though we had rented a 4WD vehicle and could have gone further to Sossusvlei or Deadvlei, we decided to do the less strenuous walk to Hiddenvlei.  It turns out we were the only ones there!  The walk only takes about half an hour (longer though if you’re like me and have to stop at every tree and sand dune to take a picture!)  On the way back we encountered the only other signs of life there – a group of gemsbok!

Namib Desert – Dune 45

Dune 45

I recently got back from a two week trip to Namibia – so expect many, many pictures of beautiful landscapes and animals in the coming weeks!  We visited the typical “tourist trail” of Windhoek – Sossusvlei – Swakopmund – Damaraland – Etosha National Park – Waterberg – Windhoek.  We only had two weeks, which was a little short for the distances we had to drive, but it was just about manageable.  We rented a car from Namvic Safaris in Windhoek – the rate was good and the service was fine, so I’d be happy to recommend them.

This is a shot of Dune 45 in the Sossusvlei area of the Namib Desert of Namibia. It is one of the most popular dunes to climb in the Sossusvlei park.  The name comes from the fact that it is located at the 45th km mark after the entrance to the Sossusvlei park.

This was shot near sunset as the light turned golden, using a super wide angle Tokina lens (11-16mm).  I’m a big fan of desert landscapes, and in Sossusvlei it was very difficult to put my camera down!  Due to the dryness of the area, many of the old trees have died and become blackened from their exposure to the sun and dry air.  The result is countless sand dune landscapes with dead, twisted trees and branches in the foreground.