The Drakensberg Mountains of eastern South Africa are directly connected to the Namib Desert in two ways. It is these mountains which force moisture rich winds from the Indian Ocean upwards to precipitate, thereby causing the winds to be desiccated when they arrive in Namibia. Secondly, the sand of the Namib originates in these sandstone mountains. Over millions of years particles of sand have been eroded from the sandstone and deposited into the Orange River. This river empties into South Africa’s Atlantic Ocean coastline where the strong Benguella Current carries the sand-laden water northwards to deposit the particles on the shores of Namibia.
The location for this shot is the area around dune 45 in the Namib Naukluft National Park. It is the prevailing south westerly wind that sculpts the patterns in this picture. This constant wind is causing the dunes throughout the Namib to be shifted inland at a rate averaging 3 meters per year.