Life Giving Fog
Namibia Safari Guide

© Namibian desert fog

The Namib Desert is to the oldest and most extreme desert in the world. Stretching along Namibia's coastline, the plants found in the Namib are specially adapted to survive with very little water.

Considered to be the oldest desert in the world, the Namib Desert stretches along the entire Namibian Atlantic ocean coastline from just over the border in South Africa all the way up and across the border into Angola.

Spanning over 2 000 kilometres (1 200 miles) the Desert only receives between 2 millimetres to 200 millimetres of rain per year making it the only true desert in the whole of southern Africa.

A seemingly barren and desolate landscape, when one looks closely one will notice small but very significant signs of life, life that is sustained by the life giving fog that regularly occurs here. This fog is formed when the cold Benguela current sweeps northwards up and along the south-western coast of Africa and meets with the warmer currents from the more tropical areas.

The result is a nutrient rich current that sustains a wide variety of marine life. The water from this current then evaporates and forms a life giving fog. A light sea breeze blows the fog down onto the Desert providing all the nutrients and water the plants need to survive.

The water from the fog settles on surface of the desert during the day and then the cooler temperatures at night cause it to condense.

One of the most remarkable plants found in Namibia is the Welwitschia. The Welwitschia is endemic to the Namib Desert. Many of the plants that survive in the desert have developed the ability to absorb the water straight through their leaves and parts that are above the soil rather than through their roots that are buried below the surface.

Like the Welwitshia, these plants generally have large expansive leaf systems that capture as much moisture as possible.

Most of the fauna (animals and insects) found in the Namib Desert are arthropods and other small creatures that have adapted specially to survive on very little water. While exploring the Desert one may be lucky enough to see some of the larger species that are found here including Ostriches, Oryxes and Springboks.

Oryxes have adapted to the harsh living conditions of the desert by being able to raise the temperatures of their bodies to 40°C (104°F) or above. This way they do not sweat as much and they lose less water through perspiration.

by Katie Edge

A drive in the desert just as the fog comes over the top of the dunes

South and East African Safaris
©2022 Siyabona Africa (Pty)Ltd - Private Tours and Safari