Dry rivers of Namibia

Photo of the Week: Dry Rivers of Namibia


Dry Rivers of Namibia


Are there rivers in African deserts? Yes and No.

Hiking on the dry river beds was one of the most eye-opening experiences during my time in Namibia. It taught me, once again, that something we see isn’t everything. As you can see from the picture, there are rows of trees and plants between the rocky valley. It was taken at Kuiseb River during a road trip from Windhoek to Swakopmund on the way to a skiing expedition on the sand dunes.  There’s no water to be seen. We know Africa is a dry land. Bucket shower or ‘wet and clean’ shower method is recommended in Namibia even in hotels. Water is sacred here. Then, how can they grow, so green, so tall? Where is the water?

It’s underground. Known as perennial rivers, the rivers in Namibia and most African desert countries dry up during the hot season because of the extreme heat. Even if it’s dry on the surface, there remains a water deposit under the ground. After heavy rains, these dry river courses are turned into raging torrents, racing down to the sea where they discharge their muddy load. It becomes a new world. The underground water supply is recharged by these floods, providing a vital source of moisture for trees and animals during the dry periods. There are a lot of studies going on about the dry rivers, such as the dynamic of vegetation, water recharge, and so on. Small and large, local, and international research projects have focused on the dry river system. The water recharge patterns can be a good lead to the future climate change and to which residents must adopt to ensure their livelihoods.

When in Namibia, keep your eye open for the sudden patch of greenery. There’s a high chance that you are standing on a water deposit.

Namibia's dry rivers

Namibia's dry rivers

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