Rusty Red Dunes of the Namib Desert, Namibia24.7S 15.2E
The Namib Desert, which appears orange and rusty red, stretches 2000 km (1200 mi) along the southwestern African coast, where a burning desert touches an icy sea. In contrast to its length, the average width of the desert is only 113 km (70 mi).
The hyper-arid Namib ecosystem is greatly affected by ocean winds and the Benguela Current. They temper the climate of the coastal desert, bringing life to the shores, and allowing for sediments deposited into the ocean to be carried back inland to form the Namib’s extensive dunes, the highest in the world.
These dunes are surrounded by arid plains, which never receive enough rainfall to permit grasses and shrubs to gain a foothold and colonize them.
Although there are other coastal deserts bounded by cool ocean currents, the Namib is the only desert in the world where endemic flora and fauna have evolved in virtually vegetationless dunes.