Category Archives: Africa

Lichen fields in the Namib

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Lichen fields are found in some of the most uninhabitable places on earth.

The red in the middle distance is lichen. This is in view of the ocean.

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This lot stands together against the elements.

A few bushes also manage to live here. They are closer to the ocean and the mist that spreads from there every morning. Every meter makes a difference, but even more than 100 km inland plants and animals still manage to survive on the moisture brought in like that.

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This colony of lichen lives between Swakopmund and Henties Bay, not far from Wlotzka’s Beacon.

There are hundreds of species here.

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The open crust of small stones that covers the surface of the desert here provides a habitat for the lichen, together with the morning fog and blazing sun.

Apparently some of the oldest living things on earth are lichens.

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They are a symbiosis of an alga, – that can photosynthesize to produce food, and a fungus that provides protection for the algae.

Many of them cannot survive without each other.

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The Russians took lichens into space and exposed them for long periods to the cold and the vacuum of outer space. They came back without any detectable damage. The lichens were also fine 🙂

So a mere desert is a walk in the park.

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Closer up

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Although they don’t often tell you, carbon dating is not very accurate. Within 500 years, it is in fact wildly inaccurate.

Lichen grows on plants and rocks and even within rock. It also grows at a set tempo. 0.5 to 2 or 3 mm per year, depending on the species. Slow, but set. So it can be used to accurately gauge at least it’s own age 🙂

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They are all beautiful,

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but my favourite is the ‘turkish delight’ variety.

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Asparagus ‘Quiche’

I had half a bread stuck to the bottom of a pan and no choice but to soak it off.

It seemed a shame with lovely fresh baked bread so I thought to make bread pudding. A first for me, it had just never looked attractive enough.

So looking through recipes from the internet, I lost interest and remembered about the asparagus in the fridge.

Now you are very grateful for anything fresh here. For those who don’t know, Swakopmund is situated on the coast, but right in the middle of the Namib desert. So fresh produce is not so easy to come by here. This is what the place looks like.

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I got these asparagus from Dutch people who do some excellent work here in the Swakop river growing veggies.

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Did you know if you keep asparagus in a vase with water like flowers, in the fridge they will keep fresh for quite a long time? I put a plastic cover on as well, then they have their own terranium.

Line an ovenproof dish with the soaked bread. Soak your bread in milk if you like.

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Snap the ends off the asparagus and spread them over the soaked bread.

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Mix half a cup of milk thoroughly with two eggs, some olive oil, salt and pepper, half a teaspoon of paprika (smoked if you have) and a proper spoonful of cream cheese. Pour over the bread and asparagus.

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I was a bit late with it but chop half an onion and fry until golden brown. Mix in, preferably earlier, I think into the bread will be ideal.

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Bake half an hour in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

Grate some cheese and put on top of the dish 10 minutes before the end of the baking time.

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Once again not a complete dish.. I loose traction when I see food 🙂

You could make yours somewhat thicker..

Aerial photos – Kalahari changes into Namib

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As you fly from Johannesburg to Walvis Bay you traverse the south of Botswana. Here you can see how human development affects the environment.

Some say the arrival of the cattle farming Tswana at the delta in Botswana was ‘the end of eden’.

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Further west if looks like the kalahari changes into Namib.

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Then it becomes more mountainous.

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I wish I could tell you more about these strangely beautiful landscapes, but I could only look in wonder.

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Even further west it is almost a moon landscape

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And finally my favourite

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The photos are as I took them and in the order in which they appeared.

Skeleton Coast

Fisherman’s world here on the Namibian coast. Fishing rods everywhere.

They say there are over 1000 wrecks on this coast, rough seas and few harbours. But the coast isn’t named after the shipwrecks, there was so much whale hunting here that the beaches were strewn with whale bones. What a pity, they suspect that whales can live a 1000 years, and that the giants who were caught a few centuries ago were ancient. That also being the reason that there are no more of them now..