Saturday, March 22, 2008

Down to Southern Africa

We transitioned to southern Africa on March 18 visiting Namibia and South Africa.

Namibia in places looks a lot like the Mojave Desert (one of my favorites). The Namib Desert is typically drier but just as interesting.

Here you can see some of the black dikes that course through the light colored granites. The dikes were intruded about 120 million years ago, when the southern continents were rifted apart. The granites were formed about 560 million years ago in a huge mountain building event.

Look at these fantastic folds in the granite and gneiss!

Here is one of the most interesting plants found in the Namib - the Welwischia. It can be over 1,500 years old and is found only in a narrow band of ground a certain distance from the coast. This was one we came across on our 4X4 desert tour.

Here is a close-up view of the Welwischia. There are only two leaves on each plant and the border of the two here split left to right in the photo. The wind splits them apart making it seem like more than one leaf.

We also took a scenic flight over the dune fields of Namibia. Our planes were agile and low flying. This was certainly not for sissies!

A number of old abandoned diamond camps were seen on the flight. This coast has lots of placer deposits of diamonds - those are fields where ancient rivers transported diamonds to the beach.

Look at these coastal dunes! Awesome aren't they? Well, this could be a modern analog for what environment the Toroweap and Cococnino sandstones were deposited in over 275 million years ago! I love time travel!!

A view of our lovely hotel in Swakopmund!

I put this photo in the blog for my friends Norm and Don and Bill back home who all love to go camping in the desert! We saw this great sunset and I thought of them! Beautiful high cirrus clouds at sunset.

Desert dancers greeted us at a night time dinner in the desert, complete with a flame show. I put this one in for Helen so she'll know how much my love still burns for her, half way around the world!!

We got to fly from the capital at Windhoek out to the Namib in an old and restored DC-6. She was a beaut!

Look at those engines whirring away over the mist shrouded desert.

Granite landscape in Namibia.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nephew...Just sending our thanks for allowing us along on your travels. Wish we were there with you, but the photos and descriptions are great....Earl


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