One of the oldest and largest deserts in the world, the Namib stretches inland from the Atlantic Ocean, covering large bands of Namibia as well as parts of Angola and South Africa.
Stretching from southern Kaokoveld in the north to the South Africa Karoo in the south, the Namib is more than 1,000 miles long and up to 100 miles wide. The desert is perhaps most famous for its sand dunes. Especially in the Sossusvlei area, these reddish-orange dunes are some of the largest in the world, with some exceeding 1,000 feet. Where the Namib Desert touches the Atlantic coast, regular morning fogs blanket the land as ocean breezes are forced down by hot eastern winds. Unique plant and insect species have adapted to this climate. The combination of dense fogs and strong ocean currents have made the Atlantic waters of the desert coast legendary for their perils. The Skeleton Coast in northern Namibia is littered with the decaying evidence of thousands of unsuccessful ocean voyages. Moving north from the sand dunes, the terrain transforms to rocky desert, gravel plains, and dry riverbeds.
Surprisingly in this harsh environment, there are still plenty of wildlife who have adapted to life in the desert. Small populations of lizard, gecko, gerbil, mole, hyaena, and jackal have learned to subsist here. There is even a unique population of elephants who have adapted to the arid climate. These pachyderms found mostly in the region of Damaraland can go for days without drinking water and rely on the vegetation they consume for moisture.