This wild and vast National park is Namibia’s largest conservation area contains some of the country’s most iconic attractions. The World’s Tallest dunes at Sossusvlei, the imposing canyon at Sesriem, forgotten shipwrecks and ghost towns along the icy Atlantic coast, stark inselbergs and mountain ranges, and lichen-encrusted gravel plains.
It is easy to see why this vast tract of land covering an area the size of Germany, is on everyone’s bucket list. It is one of the least populated areas in the entire country where the visitor can experience an intense feeling of vastness and isolation. Here the magical and awe-inspiring beauty of the night skies can be enjoyed like few places on earth.
Not known for its wildlife or indeed even its birding, it is incredibly well known for the most photogenic backdrops in the world. The red dunes, the bluest sky, the white earth and the few remaining trees that you see in almost every photograph when researching Namibia. The majority of this park is inaccessible and inhospitable so the points of interest are dotted around its perimeter that goes all the way to Luderitz in the South and stretching to Swakopmund in the North.
The Namib- Naukluft could be divided into two sections, much like its name. The Namib to the East is home to the vast red desert and dunes as described above. The Naukluft to the west, in contrast, encompasses the Naukluft mountains and boasts massive and varied rock formations, Naukluft is a geologist’s paradise.
This area, fed by the ocean air has vegetation which in turn feeds a variety of rare animals. Hartmann’s mountain zebra and kudu, gemsbok, klipspringer, duiker, steenbok, leopard, baboon, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, African wild cat, caracal and aardwolf. Naukluft’s steep cliffs are nesting grounds for various cliff-breeding bird species, including Black eagles.
The park is more of an incredibly vast conservation area than a park, with many of the natural formations and lay of the land providing its boundaries.
1 - Sossusvlei, with its monumental dunes, up to 325 m when measured from the base, is one of the top destinations in Namibia. The star-shaped dunes are a sought after topic for artists and photographers
2 - Dead Pan, is a large ghostly expanse of dried white clay, punctuated by skeletons of ancient camel-thorn trees, carbon-dated as being between 500 and 600 years old. When it has rained sufficiently in the interior for the Tsauchab River to come down and fill the main pan, flamingoes and other aquatic birds are drawn to the area.
3 - Naukluft mountains and boasting massive and varied rock formations, Naukluft is a geologist's paradise. The intermittent layers of horizontally folded igneous rock, quartzite, dolomite and shale are impressive with their giant symmetrical patterns. Five different vegetation communities within the park ensure a wealth of tree and shrub species, and a variety of aloes.
The region is characterised by high, isolated inselbergs and kopjes (the Afrikaans term for rocky outcrops), made up of dramatic blood red granites, rich in feldspars and sandstone. The easternmost part of the park covers the Naukluft Mountains.
More moisture comes in as a fog off the Atlantic Ocean than falls as rain, with the average 106 millimeters of rainfall per year concentrated in the months of February and April.
The winds that bring in the fog are also responsible for creating the park's towering sand dunes, whose burnt orange color is a sign of their age. The orange color develops over time as iron in the sand is oxidized, like rusty metal; the older the dune, the brighter the color.
These dunes are the tallest in the world, in places rising more than 300 meters (almost 1000 feet) above the desert floor. The dunes taper off near the coast, and lagoons, wetlands, and mudflats located along the shore attract hundreds of thousands of birds.
By Road - Sossusvlei is only about 2.5 hours by road.
By Air - there are options of private charters
As the Namib-Nauklift is incredibly vast and is more of a conservation area than a traditional park, the majority of the area and perimeter is absolute impassable wilderness, so a fence is not needed! When you come to accessing the tourist attractions and points of interest, there you will find formal entrances and various levels of entrance fees depending on where you are staying, resident, etc.
Because the National park is more of a vast wilderness and animals are scarce, there are an array of sporting activities that can be done in the region.
Dune Boarding, taking advantage of the open and limitless sand dunes
Quad biking, this is majorly done when one goes to the sand dunes that are located within the park and the sand dune exercise always takes place very early in the morning because in the afternoons, the heat is too much it is always difficult when one to go for the quad bikes.
Hiking, this is done within the National park and up the dunes and you also get to see the different animals that always habitate within it including meeting with the locals who are the San who have gotten used to living in these harsh conditions.
A balloon ride, this is also done in the morning because during the morning hour, it is very easy for the balloon to go up as the air is still at that time and who wouldn’t want to explore the Namib Desert from above.
Photo safaris, the Namib-Naukluft National Park is filled with tourist attractions that need to be captured by a camera and it is a perfect opportunity for all those that love photography.
In the Namib part of the park, there will be little evidence of wildlife. In the Naukluft area, there are a variety of plains game and rare predators. Hartmann's mountain zebra, there are kudu, gemsbok, klipspringer, duiker, steenbok, leopard, baboon, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, African wild cat, caracal and aardwolf. Naukluft's steep cliffs are nesting grounds for various cliff-breeding bird species, including Black eagles.
Like all of Namibia, the best time to visit is in the drier cooler months. This is for comfort as summer does bring exceptionally high temperatures in the desert though don't be fooled as winter nights can be exceptionally cold! If you would like to see the migratory flamingos, plan to come in late summer after the rains
Hot-air ballooning. Horse-back safari. Photographic, Walking. Self-drive. Guided. 4x4 routes, bird-watching, star-gazing, angling.
Wide variety ranging from Camping, private lodges, guest houses etc