When seen from above, the arid west coast of South Africa features some extraordinary markings. Clustered between the small towns of Koingnaas and Kotzesrus are vast patterns, often kilometres long – a variety of shapes and symbols that defy interpretation. These are not the designs of an ancient civilisation or extra-terrestrials, but long strips of earth ploughed by local sheep farmers who grow wheat and barley here to feed their livestock. Bands of natural vegetation were left between the soft, ploughed earth to help protect the topsoil from wind erosion during the dry summer months. As annual rainfall in the region has declined over the last half century, many of these fields are no longer in use. Natural vegetation is returning, gradually obscuring these patterns from view.