The fog banks and low levels of precipitation support a vast array of life that has adapted to survive the harsh conditions. A notable plant is the welwitchia which only ever forms 2 leaves and can live 2,500 years. Gemsbok are remarkable antelopes that can tolerate body temperatures of 45°C without suffering brain damage owing to a dense network of arterial vessels at the skull base which dissipates heat.
The desert contains underground moisture tracks which may only be a couple of metres wide but can stretch for hundreds of kilometres. Trees populate the desert above these tracks but over long periods of time they shift course thereby removing the tree’s water source. An active moisture track is delineated in the far distance of this photograph by a dense line of trees while the fossilised camelthorn tree shows where a track existed between 500 and 1,500 years ago. Gemsbok tracks are visible in the near distance of this image.