With dimensions of 1 by 3km the dry pan of the Vogelstrausskluft can be found
on many maps of southern Namibia. It is located on the western border,
directly at the entrance, and only 2/3 of it belong to the area of the
The headwaters of the Schnepfen - the river that flows into the pan - are about
60km further in the north, in the high plains around Bethanie. The water there gathers
between two mountain ranges and drains, like nearly all rivers in this part of Namibia,
to the south where it meets the Konkiep river about 50km south of Vogelstrausskluft.
A private dam, built a few years ago, banks up the water already 30km before it reaches
our farm and so cuts off the water supply in this anyhow dry area. The small lake went
Only in very rainy years though, the pan fills with water and offers fascinating scenery
- last time this happened in 2002 and before that in 1987. Because rain doesn't fall in
regular intervals - years can pass without any - the ground normally is dried out and hard.
If then finally rain falls, large amounts of water pour down in only a few minutes. The ground
is not able to soak it up immediately and so it flows off on the surface. Rapid flows can
therefore form in areas where actually no rain has fallen. If this, like in March 2002, happens
at the same time around Bethanie and the Vogelstrausskluft, the Schnepfen River brings enough
water to flood the pan and, because the drain is blocked
form a lake. In 2002 the water only rose a few centimetres but native farmers tell of several
meters in 1987, when it even reached the farmhouse on the slope of the plateau.
The scenery of a blue lake in the middle of a scarce landscape, dominated by red colours, is
indescribable. Nature suddenly awakens and even the animals seem to be happy and come in herds
from the surrounding plains to drink or simply have a bath in the warm water.
But also being empty the wide, plain and grassless pan is wonderful to look at. Like the grassy
plains of the plateau
, the hills of the
or the cliffs of the
it has its very own scenery.
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