Skip to content

Namib Desert, Namibia EarthCache

Hidden : 08/03/2007
2.5 out of 5
2 out of 5

Size: Size:   other (other)

Join now to view geocache location details. It's free!


How Geocaching Works

Please note Use of services is subject to the terms and conditions in our disclaimer.

Geocache Description:

Entry to the Namib Desert D826, a gravel road will take you to Sesriem, the gateway to the sand dune desert with mountains to the east and the dunes to the west. From there, continue to Soussusvlei, right into the heart of the desert. Ordinary sedan cars can travel the 63 km on the tarred road from Sesriem to the beginning of the vlei, but the last 4 km are only negotiable by 4-wheel-drive vehicles. Small busses are available from the car park for the last 4 Km, but the nearest dunes are only a few hundred metres away are easily accessible on foot. Google Earth high resolution images at S24° 29.125 E15° 47.790 will give you a good impression about the area.

The Dunes In the Nama language, Namib means vast, and this is an understatement. This park is the largest conservation area in Namibia and one of the largest in the world, measuring about 1,400 km in length and varying between 40 and 120 km in width, covering almost 50 000 km². The parched Namib desert has endless orange dunes blown into razor sharp ridges by the sand-shifting wind. The famous Sossusvlei sand dunes at 300m, are the highest in the world marching slowly northwards, driven by prevailing southerly winds. Geologists say that this supreme desert could be the oldest in the world. The older the dune, the brighter the colour from slow iron oxidisation and a zillion minute fragments of garnets.

Requirements for claiming this Cache To get credit for this Earthcache please answer the following Study Questions and send us your findings. It would be great if you could share a nice picture of the area with us.
Please do not post any answers with your log.

1. Sand dunes are asymmetrical mounds. Describe in your own words the shape of the dunes here, and where this shape comes from?

2. Dune 45 is the most widely known of the Namibian dunes through photography. What indicates the “45”?

3. The Welwitschia is a shrub-like plant perfectly adapted to this desert climate and can live for over a thousand years. How many leaves has the plant?

4. Deserts are divided into four categories, Subtropical deserts, Cold Winter deserts, Polar Regions deserts, and Cool Coastal deserts like the Namib. Can you name a desert for the other three categories?

Bitte folgende Fragen beantworten Um den EC zu loggen sende uns bitte die Antworten auf folgende Fragen:

1. Sand Dünen sind asymmetrisch geformt. Beschreibe in eigenen Worten woher die Form kommt und wie sie entsteht.

2. Die Düne 45 ist wohl die bekannteste Düne hier. Woher kommt denn der Name „Düne 45“?

3. Die Welwitschia ist eine typische Pflanze der Region, hält die Hitze aus und ist der Dürre angepasst, sie kann viele hunderte Jahre alt werden. Wie viele Blätter hat denn diese Pflanze?

4. Wüsten können in 4 Kategorien eingeteilt werden, Subtropische Wüsten, Binnenwüste, Polarwüste und kalte Küstenwüste wie z.B. die Namib. Bitte nenne jeweils ein Beispiel für die anderen Kategorien.

A log entry to remember A sea of red sand with miles and miles of rolling ironized waves.
Waves so high it drowns you out as you stand below it's feet.
But it holds a magical charm. It draws you nearer and invite you up its slopes.
It sucks you in with a promise of spectacular views from the crests.
And when you are deep inside the desert, and the dunes circles you all sides.
And the burning sun starts to slide from the blue sky above.
Then, my friend you will find some peace in your soul.
For all that is wrong in this world does not matter at this time in this place.

Henzz, Namibia, Jun/29/2013


The Namib Desert is believed to be the world’s oldest desert and it has been arid for at least 55 million years. The convergence of the Benguela upwelling and the hot interior have maintained, and perhaps increased this aridity in recent times, but they did not generate the aridity. The region, isolated between the ocean and the escarpment, is considered to be a constant island of aridity surrounded by a sea of climatic change. The arid conditions probably started with the continental split of West Gondwana 130 million to 145 million years ago when this area shifted to its present position along the Tropic of Capricorn. These events led to the formation of a range of subvolcanic complexes – the so-called Damaraland Complexes – and to the deposition of flood basalts – the Etendeka Lavas. The Damaraland Complexes include some striking inselberg features of great size, including Erongo, Brandberg and Spitzkoppe.
Many investigators believe that the desert sands are derived mainly from fluvial sediment transported to the Namib coast by a perennial river about 300 km south of the Plate. The sediments are then transported north by longshore drift. Some of the sand near the coast is of marine origin, and a little sand is brought in from the Great Escarpment and beyond.

The most important climatic feature of the Namib Desert is its sparse and highly unpredictable annual rainfall. The annual mean ranges from 5 mm in the west to about 85 mm along its eastern limits. The low rainfall of the Namib has two causes. Firstly, the easterly trade winds emerging over the Indian Ocean lose most of their humidity when rising over the eastern escarpment of the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa. On their way over the continent, they lose further moisture and reach the western escarpment of Namibia warm and dry. These air masses move down onto the low-lying Namib and produce extremely hot and dry winds. Secondly, the prevailing local southwesterly winds, cooled down by the Benguela current along the west coast of South Africa, produce an inland movement of cold air, which is overlain by the warmer, lighter air. This inversion prevents the convectional rise of the cool, humid air and thus no clouds are formed. The cool air does, however, regularly form a stable layer of fog, which is blown inland as far as 50 km. This coastal fog is the life-blood in the Namib and is an important factor contributing to the remarkably high diversity of animal life in this extremely arid environment.

Links and Resources

desert topics:
Deserts of the world:
Wind as a Geologic Agent:
The desert biome:

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Gnyx gb ybpny crbcyr, rfcrpvnyyl gur ohfqeviref ng Fbhffhfiyrv xabj rirelguvat nobhg gur qrfreg.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)