Dead Vlei means ‘Dead Marsh’; hundreds of years ago this salt pan was flooded by water from the Tsauchab, which is an stream that only flows during and after rain in the nearby mountains. These days it exists mainly as an empty river bed, but rain in this area was more common back then.
The dead Camel Thorn tree that DS is leaning on died over 900 years ago, from lack of water once the climate changed. When drought hit the area, huge sand dunes surrounded the pan, cutting it off from the river and the possibility of ever being flooded again.
There is a nearby pan called Sossuslvlei that is not surrounded by sand, and had been flooded when we visited. There were birds all around the vlei and green plants were growing beside it.
But Deadvlei appeared completely devoid of life, apart from the few dozen tourists who had trekked across the desert with us to visit this strange place. At one point the kids found a lizard to chase; later on we learnt that it probably survives by burying itself in the sand during the hottest part of the day and takes water from the morning mist that rolls in from the nearby sea.
The skeletons of these long dead trees are not petrified, they are still wooden, but they do not decompose because there is not enough water for them to do so. They are black from being burnt from the fierce desert sun.
Despite their stark appearance, and lack of leaves, they are still majestic and make Deadvlei a truly beautiful place to visit.
The Gallery theme this week is trees. If you’d like to see what trees other bloggers have been taking pictures of, then please check out this week’s post at Sticky Fingers.