Introducing the Namib Desert Playas

  • Frank D. Eckardt
  • N. Drake
Part of the Tasks for Vegetation Science book series (TAVS, volume 46)


The hyper arid Central Namib gravel plains to the north of the Kuiseb River feature a series of playa clusters which are nested in shallow drainage channels. The playas form primarily as the result of groundwater water ponding at bedrock obstructions which produces surface salts such as halite and gypsum on top of thin stream sediments. They differ considerable in size, shape and composition when compared with playas elsewhere in the region such as the Kalahari and Karoo.


Aerial Photography Drainage Channel Gypsum Crust Silver Lake Moderate Flow Rate 
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We would like to thank Dr. Mary Seely from the Desert Ecological Research Unit of Namibia for hosting us and Mrs. Conradie from Department of Water Affairs, Windhoek, Namibia who kindly assisted in the analyses of water data. Research funding was provided by the NERC Environment Research Council and the Trapnell Fund. The Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism provided research permits. Additional thanks has to go to Mark Barry, Christine Hänel, Dr. Peter and Kathy Jacobsen, Stephanie Wolters and Juliane Zeidler. Final thanks also goes to Dr Kevin White and Andrew Goudie.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Geographical ScienceUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of GeographyKings CollegeLondonUK

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