Namib-Naukluft National Park Safari in Namibia
The Namib-Naukluft National Park covers a section of Namib Desert – the world’s oldest desert and the Mountain range of Naukluft. The Namib-Naukluft National Park is noted to be the largest National Park in the destination Namibia covering an area of 49,768km2 making it the fourth (4th) largest on a world scale.
The most famous section of Namib-Naukluft National Park is called Sossusvlei and is the park’s main attraction. A range of creatures thrive in this desert landscape including geckos, snakes, hyenas, jackals, gemsbok and unique insects among others. The Moisture from the adjacent Atlantic Ocean falls in as rain with a 106mm average per annum occurring especially in February and April. The very winds that bring in the fog also create the towering sand dunes with their burnt orange colour depicting their age. The orange colour develops following a given period as the Sand Iron is oxidized and just like a rusty metal, the much older the dune gets, the brighter it becomes. The dunes in the Namib-Naukluft National Park stand as the world’s tallest rising to over 300m close to 1000 feet above the floor of the desert. The dunes narrow down as they get close to the coast giving space for lagoons, mudflats and wetlands along the shore which in turn pull myriad of bird species.
The world Namib literally translates to open space and the country Namibia means the land of open spaces.
The Namib-Naukluft National Park was gazetted in the year 1907 when the area in the middle of River Kuiseb and River Swakop was declared a game reserve by the German colonialists. The present park borders were drawn in 1978 by conglomerating Namib Desert Park, Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park, sections of Daimond Area 1 along with sections of surrounding government land. The park features a serenely placed inselbergs and the Kopjes composed of blood red granites that is rich in Sandstone and feldspars. The Naukluft Mountains stand to the extreme east of the park.
Namibia Safari Attractions in Namib-Naukluft National Park
Naukluft Mountains as a Namibia Safari attraction in Namib-Naukluft National Park
The Naukluft Mountains are positioned to the east of the park about one (1) hour’s from Sesriem. The Mountains were initially under the Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park sheltering the rare breeding Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra population before a strip of land was added to the west of the park forming a corridor that linked the mountains to the Namib Desert national park which enabled Zebra, oryx among others migrate between the two protected areas. In 1979, the Naukluft Mountains were formally incorporated with Namib Desert National Park to form the Namib-Naukluft National Park.
The Naukluft Mountains derive their beauty from its remarkable geology and the geographical position. They are detached from other highlands by spectacular steep cliffs and it rises to 1,100m underneath much of which is granite while on top of this base, there are alternating layers of shales and dolomites with dark limestone deposits extending to 1,995m. The rain water over the millennia has been cutting through the massif resulting into the formation of steep kloofs along with a network of watercourses and reservoirs most of which are subterranean. In fact the name Naukluft literally translates into narrow ravine.
The name Naukluft, which means ‘narrow ravine’, is apt for the landscape.
Flora as a Namibia Safari attraction in Namib-Naukluft National Park
The park receives occasional intense rainstorms especially in summer feeding its stream and spring network in the deeper kloofs resulting into thriving of flora species like acacia, euphorbia, aloe plantslike quivertrees that exist in the Quivertree gorge and commiphora. Most of the flora is slow growing adapted to water conservation in the dry season. In the deeper kloofs where permanent springs thrive, plants like sycamore figs exist along with buffalo thorn, shepherd’s trees and wild olive.
Fauna / wildlife as a Namibia Safari attraction in Namib-Naukluft National Park
The Namib Naukluft National Park features many animals among which include large animals but they are rarely encountered. These include the; Hartman Mountain Zebra, Kudu, Oryx, Klipspringer, Steenbok, dassie, warthog, springbok and Ostrich. Most of these thrive in the plains surrounding the mountain. The leopards thrive on the mountain as well.
Birds as a Namibia Safari attraction in Namib-Naukluft National Park
Namib-Naukluft National Park features 200 species of birds and forms the southern limit of the Northern Namib species like rosy-faced lovebirds, Ruppell’s parrot along with Monteiro’s hornbill. Southern species like the Karoo robin chat also exist. The wetter kloofs provide shelter that cannot resist the drier stretches of Namib including brubru, hamerkop and African black ducks. The Raptors like the black eagles, augur buzzards, lanner falcons and pale chanting gowshaks are encountered soaring above.
Sesriem & Sossusvlei Area as a Namibia Safari attraction in Namib-Naukluft National Park
This is mostly visited area in Namib-Naukluft National Park. It features the best desert scenic view including curving ridges and beautiful dunes which are magnificently pictured at dawn. These areas lie along River Tsauchab which is one of the two main rivers that flow west to the Central Namib’s great dune field but never reaching the Ocean resulting into the formation of flat white pans with green trees and surrounded by spectacular dunes popularly referred to as the Islands of life with in a sea of sand.
Sesriem Canyon as a Namibia Safari attraction in Namib-Naukluft National Park
This thrives at 4km from Sesriem and appears as a narrow fissure in the middle of the Sandstone 30m deep in the channels of River Tsauchab. This was utilised by early settlers that extracted water from it by knotting together riems – six lengths of hide rope and it became known as Sesriems.
Namibia Safari Activities in Namib-Naukluft National Park
Dune hiking as a Namibia Safari Activity in Namib-Naukluft National Park
The dune 45 stands at 45km from the park gate and stands as the most climbed dune in the whole of Namib. It stands at 170m thus among the Namib’s highest dunes. The hike takes about 2 hours. The art of hiking Dune 45 is also an experience of its own. There are cases of sun burn thus a hat, sun screen and light weight long sleeved top and sufficient water is recommended.
Scenic Drive as a Namibia Safari Activity in Namib-Naukluft National Park
The scenic drive in the desert is very amazing presenting unmatchable scenic views of the dunes, flora and fauna while enjoying the desert drive. The desert drive is better done in the morning and in the late afternoon to avoid the hot day time and the night time as the roads are not good.
Hot Air Balloon as a Namibia Safari Activity in Namib-Naukluft National Park
This is another impressive activity within Namib-Naukluft National Park. It commences at Camp Mwisho and takes one hour exploring the beautiful red sand dune landscape with a magical Champagne breakfast upon landing.
Accommodation in Namib-Naukluft National Park
Namib Naukluft Lodge
This is a luxury lodge positioned in Nam Nau Habitat presenting accommodation in sixteen (16) rooms that are en suite equipped with;
- King Size or Twin beds
- Lush linen
- Air conditioning
- Private veranda
Namib-Naukluft Lodge facilities
- Open fire place
- 9 hole golf course
Sossuvlei Desert Lodge
This is located amidst the Namib Desert’s sand dunes.
Facilities at Sossuvlei Desert Lodge
- Ten (10) Air conditioned glass and stone desert villas
- Outdoor showers
- Swimming pools the beds
- Safari Shop
- Observatory with professional astronomer
La Mirage Desert Lodge
The Le Mirage Desert Lodge is a unique accommodation establishment positioned at 21km form the gate of Sesriem gate. The rooms feature enough space equipped with large beds, coffee and tea making facilities and mini bar.
La Mirage Desert Lodge has the following room types;
Camel Thorn Rooms: These are eight (8) in number and named after the camel thorn tree in the front of the building. They are in central building which also houses the reception
Oasis rooms: These are positioned in an expanse castle building featuring an inside oasis. The spa and pool are within the building. The rooms are eighteen (18) in number and have private balconies.
Open Air Tower rooms: This features two (2) rooms positioned on the top of the two (2) round towers at the Oasis castle.
A little Sossus Lodge
This offers budget accommodation in Namib – Naukluft National Park and this is presented in a count of twenty (20) chalets that can take up to 46 people maximum. Twelve (12) chalets feature twin rooms while four (4) are family units each equipped with 4 beds.
The lodge features well maintained campsites with each camp having own bathroom and hot water, Kitchen Area and a shop where few purchases can be made.