Heritage Travel Namibia 11 ANCIENT SURVIVORS BY KOOS VAN DER LENDE Two leaves, a stem base and roots. That's all there is to a welwitschia. Yet this simple arrangement means the plant can cope with the most desiccated of environments, where no more than 15mm of rain falls each year. It takes root where no other plant would dare try. Its curved leaves, split with age and singed by the hot ground, funnel the morning dew down to the roots. Some individuals could be more than 1500 years old. These living fossils are so unlike anything else they warrant a genus all their own - and a classic portrait. Koos photographed his subject, which is at least 200 years old, in Namibia's Messum Crater, close to the Skeleton Coast. " I loved the circle the leaf made on the left- hand side, and used 12 refl ector boards to bounce the sunlight back to get the detail."
Portfolio 12 Travel Namibia BEE- EATER BALLET BY CHRIS VAN ROOYEN A boat moored on the Zambezi was the perfect hide from which to observe the colony. At least 1000 carmine bee- eaters were breeding in this area of riverbank, in Caprivi, Namibia - one of the largest colonies in southern Africa. Whenever a loitering raptor drifted too close, a burst of carmine would explode from the numerous burrows. Activity was constant, and the birds never stopped chirruping to each other as they chased insects. " I had the distinct impression some were just having fun," says Chris. " They would weave around in the wind, hover in the updraft created by the riverbank, and then fold their wings to parachute back into the nest- hole."