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The highest dune in the Namib desert is known as Big Daddy, measuring more than 350 meters high, rising on a 45 degree angle. But the desert's most popular feature, maybe because it is the most accessible, is known as Dune 45.

Dune 45 - Namib desert

Experts say that the dunes of the Namib desert have developed over a period of many millions of years.

The highest dune in the world

It is believed that the Orange River in South Africa deposited over time enormous quantities of sand into the Atlantic Ocean. The sand was then regularly moved northwards by the strong Benguela current to be dumped back onto the land by the strong surf over hundred of kilometers.

The dunes on the coast developed as a result and were moved further and further east by the strong wind.

Map of Namibia

Dune 45 reaches more than 170 meters, and is apparently named (without imagination) after the distance in kilometers from Sesriem Canyon.

Early in the morning (you need to start the climb at 5am as it takes one good hour to reach the top), a popular adventure is to climb the mighty Dune 45 and reach the top just before the sunrise.

Climbing Dune 47 is not easy

It is not an easy task, as you have to walk along the edge of the dune (about a foot wide) and your feet continuously sink into the sand. It just feels as if you will never arrive at the top, making it very harsh to continue.

It is indeed really hard. Finally when one hour later, as a true "survivor", you reach the top, all you want to do is just sit and wait for the sun to rise. Though it is freezing cold, you are covered in sweat, rather quickly dried by the cold, which makes it even more uncomfortable.

Just before the sun lights up, the dunes start to be covered by dark blue shadows and it is just a big - silent - 'wow', leaving you speechless.

Dune at sunrise in the Namib desert

As far as you can see, as the sun rises, it is only gigantic dunes up to 300 m high and their rich tints ranging from pale apricot to vivid reds and oranges or golden-red colours.

It is a fabulous unforgettable dune dream come true experience that stays in your memory forever.

As the sun continued to rise, temperature climbs quickly and you have to take a difficult decision: to leave and go down.

In less than hour, wind blows again strongly at the top, causing potentially great pain if you don't protect your arms and face and the sand becomes just too hot to stand on it.

Likely, to go down is a lot easier and you do in a couple of minutes what took you more than one hour to climb.

The highest dunes in the world - Namib desert

Today, the wind still carries on to continuously change the shape of the dunes of the Namib desert.

It forces the grains of sand on the flat windward slope upwards to the crest of the dune. Here they fall down in the wind shade. The leeward slope is therefore always considerably steeper than the windward side.


Grandiose landscapes, desert and lot of space