Pitch-black trees clawing their way out of bleached-white pans. Rust-red sand dunes reaching up as high as the Empire State Building towards a sky so bright blue it hurts the eyes to look at it. This is Deadvlei, a once luscious marsh long since succumbed to drought and time, leaving behind a Kafkaesque forest. And a photographer’s dream.
Deadvlei – or ‘dead marsh’ (from the English dead and the Afrikaans vlei) – is located close to the more famous Sossusvlei, inside the Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia. Here, amidst the towering, fiery-hued dunes of the Namib desert, you will find 900-year old dead camel thorn trees casting bony-fingered shadows across a white clay pan, forming a contrast so stark as to be almost startling.
How did this haunting place come to be?
It is believed that the clay pan formed more than a thousand years ago, when the Tsauchab river