Exceptionally Good Winter Rain Promises Sea Of Flowers In The Namib

29 Jun 2023

In southwestern Namibia, a cold front is currently causing an unusually high amount of rain. "From Monday until now, we have already measured more than 50 mm," reports Piet Swiegers from Desert Horse Inn near Aus yesterday noon. "In the adjacent Tsau ǁKhaeb (Sperrgebiet) National Park to the west, it's even more than 100 mm." And that's not all: the rains are expected to continue until today. 


Winter rain Lüderitz Shark Island Tsau ǁKhaeb (Sperrgebiet) National Park Namibia 
A rare sight: Heavy continuous rain causes flooding of the road to Shark Island in the port town of Lüderitz on the north-western edge of Tsau ǁKhaeb (Sperrgebiet) National Park
Photo: Private 


Since it is raining, the dusty dry river beds ('riviers') turned into small flowing rivers. 


Winter rain dry river Aus Namibia 
Flowing dry river near Aus in southwestern Namibia. 
Photo: Piet Swiegers, Desert Horse Inn


The unusually good rain is a blessing for the Wild Horses of the Namib, who live in the Garub area 20 km west of Aus. After a very bad rainy season in summer, there was hardly any pasture left near the only waterhole. So the horses had to walk longer and longer distances. 

The rainfall also provides, with a time delay, a very special natural spectacle: the flowering desert. The area belongs to the species-rich Succulent Karoo. Depending on the amount of rain, it turns into a sea of blossoms in places at the end of winter. Piet nods: "Already after this rainfall, mass flowering is guaranteed here from August." 

Phenomenon after good winter rain: Flowering desert at Desert Horse Inn west of Aus in southwestern Namibia. 
Photo (August 2006): Desert Horse Inn


Contrary to some forecasts, the cold weather at Aus has been moderate, with temperatures around 5 degrees. It has not snowed there so far. Large parts of Namibia, however, experienced light frost at night. 

Since Monday, Namibia has been in the icy grip of the first strong cold front this winter. This is a low-pressure area that brings in air from the Antarctic. It often also comes along with widespread and gentle steady rain. 

Sven-Eric Stender

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