This blue marble

– and yet it spins

What’s in a name (of a dune)?

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dune-elim-1The colors of Sossusvlei and the Sesriem area at dusk and dawn are the colors of every Namibian travel guide. No, the photos of those guide books are not photoshopped: the colors are truly magical. The red and pink hues come from iron content in the sand.

Many dunes in Namibia have names: Dune 7, Dune 45, Elim Dune, Big Daddy. Elim Dune, just off the Sesriem camp site, takes its name after an old farm. Dune 45 got its name as it is on the road to Sossusvlei and exactly 45 km from the Sesriem camp site. Some dunes, like Dune 7 are simply given a number, often counted from the sea towards inland in rows, like waves of sand.

And yet, when one looks at a satellite image, behind each of these famous dunes is about 500 other dunes. The sand sea is endless and we only see the edge of it because there is no way we can move or survive through the rest. All we are capable of doing is perhaps climbing one of them and running down the side like tiny ants.dune-elim-2(Namib-Naukluft Park, Namibia; July 2017)

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