Dead Vlei: Namibia’s Tree Graveyard

Photo: John Freeman

Dead Vlei means dead marsh or lake. It is the name of an awe-inspiring white clay pan situated in the salt pan of Sossusvlei,  Namibia. The clay pan was formed after rainfall, when the Tsauchab river flooded, creating temporary shallow pools where the abundance of water allowed camel thorn trees to grow. When the climate changed, drought hit the area, and sand dunes encroached on the pan, which blocked the river from the area. The trees died, as there no longer was enough water to survive. They have remained in these eerie positions for over 900 years.

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