Namib Desert

Aug 5, 2011   //   by Sam Wingate   //   Safaris  //  Comments Off on Namib Desert

Namib Desert including Namib Naukluft Park, Sossusvlei & Sesriem Canyon

Namib Desert
The Namib Desert lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Central Plateau in Namibia, stretching for 1,600 kms from Luderitz in the south into Angola.  Its width varies between 50 and 160 kms. The Namib Desert terrain is mostly rocky but also consists of vast areas of sand dunes and gravel plains. With an average rainfall of less than 10 mms per year, the Namib is the only true desert in Southern Africa. Most of the precipitation that occurs in the Namib Desert and on which the animal and plant life depend is in the form of fog from the Atlantic Ocean.
The Namib is a living desert with a diversity of life forms that have adapted in the most fascinating ways to survive the harsh desert life. From tenebrionid beetles that trap fog moisture to lizards with long legs and pointed noses that run across the searing hot dunes and dive into the sand for protection from the unforgiving sun.
The gravel roads between Aus and Sesriem take you through some spectacular areas of the Namib Desert. The Kaokoveld and Damaraland landscapes in the Namib Desert are equally beautiful and fascinating but more rocky and very different.
Accommodation in the main tourist areas of the Namib Desert is plentiful, including lodges, guesthouses,
wilderness tented camps and camping sites.

Namib Naukluft Park
Located in the Namib Desert, the Namib Naukluft Park is almost 50,000 sq. kms in extent and one of the largest Parks in Africa. It stretches from near Luderitz in the south to Swakopmund in the north and includes well known areas such as Sesriem, Sossusvlei, Namibrand Nature Reserve, Naukluft Mountains, Sandwich Harbour, Swakop River Valley and Kuiseb Canyon. Sesriem is the focal area where the main park gate is located and a variety of lodges, camps and private reserves are found in this area.

Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei is situated inside the Namib Naukluft Park and is a dry lake that sometimes fills with water after heavy rains in the interior. This is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Namib Desert as it is here that some of the highest sand dunes in the world are found, over 300 metres high. The first and last light of day blends with the ochre red and brown hues of the dunes to create a visual spectacle that holds visitors in awe. And to climb a dune before sunrise has become a religion to most who flock to this area.


Sesriem Canyon

Sesriem Canyon is found near the Namib Naukluft Park Gate and was formed by the Tsauchab River that carved the conglomerate rock to a depth of 30 metres. The Canyon is about a kilometre long and was named after the six leather thongs used by settlers to lower a bucket into the canyon to get water. There is normally always water at the deepest part of the canyon. The Tsauchab River runs through the Namib Naukluft Park and ends at Sossusvlei about 50 kms from the Atlantic Ocean.

The Namib Desert is one of the main attractions in Namibia for its scenic though unusual landscapes, photogenic qualities and remarkable survival of its life forms.


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