Duna

In the Namib desert barely a centimetre of rain falls each year. For this reason, the beetles undertake a hard journey to the top of the dunes every morning.

When they arrive at the top, they turn their bodies against the wind, stretch their hind legs and lower their head. The fog, which has risen from the ocean condenses on their backs, slowly dripping towards their mouths, which allows them to survive in one of the most inhospitable places on the planet.

While we were waiting for the truck which we rented to go to the oldest dunes in the world, situated in Sossusvlei, Namibia, I remembered how they were described to me.

"Its like going to the moon, an incredible journey. When you get accustomed to the immensity of the open space, the sensation is... You know you are still on Earth, but the information your brain receives from the light, air, and everything else contradicts this".

Sossusvlei is accessed through the wide Tsauchab valley. There are numerous dunes, as if they were roads. The 7th dune is the highest, standing at 380 metres above sea level.

Having hardly slept, we begin the trip at dawn in order to see day-break from the top. Climbing a dune is like climbing a real mountain, but its totally worth it.

It is hard to describe how it is when the sun rises over the Namib desert. As the shades advance, everything changes in colour: black, white, yellow, orange, red, garnet... Namib, in its native dialect means "the country where there is nothing". But this is not true; the desert is full of animal and plant life, which have adapted in order to survive... there are herds of wild horses, descendents of those which were abandoned here during the First World War by the imperial German army.

Before descending, we photograph our footprints over the dune. Its as if nobody else has ever set foot here before. The sand that we touch is over eighty million years old. We glide down gently with bare feet, an incredible feeling.

We spent five days in the Namib desert, and each dawn we would climb a different dune to enjoy the spectacle once again. In that time I could understand how the dunes never leave a trace of movement. Immense, they move with each movement of the wind and the landscape changes in front of your eyes, like magic. There exists a secret harmony in this: the sand moves to a rhythm of its own music, for some deserts do sing. Some sound like bells, other like trumpets, organs, tambourines and thunder.

It appears the phenomenon happens when the wind and changes in temperature forces the sand to slide, but experts still do not know the exact reason. While the scientists conjure up a reason, I prefer to think that the dunes sing in order to tell us something, or sometimes maybe not. There is an old Chinese proverb that says that the bird does not sing because it has something to say, it sings because it has a song.