The Namib desert is the world’s oldest desert. The arid climate is determined by the combination of warm, dry wind which blow from the interior across the Atlantic Oceans cold Benguela current. As a result the Namib receives on average 15 mm of rain per annum, and many areas may go years without rain.
The same hot dry winds have moulded the dunes in the area around Sossusvlei where the world’s tallest dunes tower above a series of parched seasonal pans which may only fill up once or twice per decade.
The combination of crisp clear desert air and absence of light pollution makes this area of Namibia a valued astronomy research base. The silence of the Namib on a windless night is unforgettable; barely a bird call or the background noise of insect chatter.