Sossusvlei and the Namib Naukluft Park
For most the allurement of Namibia lies in its sublime landscapes. Those who come to photograph the perfect image of desolation, to challenge their 4×4 in deep red sand or those who want to discover they soul in this pristine environment – they are all drawn towards the Namib-Naukluft Park. The park is one of the largest conservation areas in Africa and stretches from the surreal shapes of Sossusvlei to the rugged Naukluft Mountains. Grand sceneries and minuscule desert dwellers await the true nature lover.
The Namib Desert
In the world’s oldest desert lies one of Namibia’s most popular tourist attractions. The red dunes of Sossusvlei provide the quintessential desert experience. While most of the Namib section of the park is inaccessible to visitors, the Sossusvlei area offers tourists, photographers, artists and nature lovers a unique experience. Don’t miss the ghostly Dead Pan situated right next to Sossusvlei. Here ancient skeletons of acacia tree provide a dramatic contrast to the rusty soft dunes.
Travelling to Sossusvlei you will pass through Sesriem. Make sure to view Sesriem Canyon just 4 km south of the town. The only permanent water source in the area drops 30-40 m and runs for about a kilometre.
For 4×4 enthusiasts and birders the Sandwich Harbour Lagoon south of Walvis Bay is a place of mystical allure. Fenced off from civilisation by tons of Namibian sand this fresh water lagoon is famous for its diverse birdlife, unique coastal views and complete desolation.
The Welwitschia Trail in the north of the park is a scenic drive past Moon Landscapes with many lookout points and the historic farmhouse at Goanikontes. Lookout for the many welwitschia mirabilis plants, which are found only in the Namib Desert and its surrounds.
Inland from the Namib Desert the Naukluft Mountains originally became a conservation area to protect the Hartmann’s mountain zebra. Today the pristine landscape of igneous rock, quartzite, dolomite and shale are home to a variety of species including Hartmann’s mountain zebra, kudu, gemsbok, klipspringer, leopard, baboon, jackal, wild cat and aard-wolf. Rock pools and picturesque hikes make the Naukluft section a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
NamibRand Nature Reserve
South of Sossusvlei the NamibRand Nature Reserve aligns itself to the eastern border of the Namib-Naukluft Park. A territory of vast spaces, grand mountain scenery and red sand dunes offers a quiet retreat for holiday makers and an adventure for photographers. A diversity of game and more than 100 bird species add to the allure of this scenic wilderness.