The Namib is located in the western region of Namibia and is the oldest desert in the world, a dry region where fourteen years may go by without a single drop of rain falling.
An unforgiving landscape, where nature demonstrate the extent to which animals and plants are able to adapt, and conquer one of the most extreme ecosystems on the planet, .
The dunes represent the greatest challenge to life in the desert. The sands don’t retain water, and there is only a bare minimum of nutrients available for plant life. Moreover, the winds constantly blow, moving the dunes in a ceaseless migration across the lonely desert.
Life would seem to be impossible here. The constant movement of the dunes prevents vegetation from taking hold along the unstable slopes. But, even here, plants have found a place in which they can gain a foothold.
The sparse vegetation, and the lack of water, mean that this region is totally inaccessible for most animals, and any that do stray too far into the desert are almost certain to die.
Despite appearances, death is not the only visitor to this area of the Namib. These bodies are evidence that this is one of the many beaches along the coast of West Africa to which the fur seals come every year to give birth.
Seven days after giving birth, the females are again ready to mate. Once they have copulated, they swim into the deep waters, where they remain for several days, feeding. During this time, the pups are left alone in the seal colony.
Approximately 40,000 years ago, a new species appeared in the Namib: man.
The herbivores of the savannah had conquered the desert, and so the first humans in the area were able to live from hunting. Today, the descendents of those tribes, the bushmen, remain loyal to the same lifestyle which enabled their forefathers to colonise these lands.
The diet of the bushmen includes 55 species of animals and 100 different plants. Hunting is the men’s job, and gathering is for the women.
In the north region of the desert live the Himba. This tribe likes to take care of their appearance. They women wear a great deal of jewellery, and paint their skin with fat, mixed with reddish dust.
Their culture, like that of the bushmen, is changing under outside influence. The new generations will have to make a choice – follow the new trends, or maintain their traditional way of life, the same way of life which made it possible for them to conquer the inhospitable lands of the Namib.
The Himba are the last link in the chain of conquest of these lands. An epic story which began millions of years ago, and which has brought life to the very heart of the Namib desert.