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NACN56 Day 04: Namib-Naukluft National Park

Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia

Today we reach the Namib-Naukluft National Park after a long day of travelling. The Namib-Naukluft National Park is one of Namibia‘s greatest geographic wonders. At 50,000 square kilometres, it is one of the biggest parks in all of Africa. The Sossusvlei desert region has enormous sand dunes as well as extraordinary scenery. Our lodging for the following two evenings is located just outside of the Park.

An ecological reserve in the Namib Desert and the biggest game park in Africa, the Namib-Naukluft National Park covers an enormous section of land and contains an unexpectedly large assortment of animals that survive in this dry area, including snakes, geckos, strange insects, hyenas, gemsbok and jackals. Most of the Park’s life is sustained by the cool ocean mists that come from the Atlantic sea as well as the occasional rainfall. Fog is brought in by the winds that also aid in constructing the Park’s gigantic sand dunes whose burnt orange hue is an indication of their age. The colour changes over time due to the iron within the sand becoming oxidized like rusted metal, therefore the older the dune, the brighter the dune’s colour.

The Namib-Naukluft’s dunes are the highest in the world, with the famous Dune 45 which peaks at over 170 metres. The dunes were given numbers in order to create an easier navigation system for travellers and in a strike of pure coincidence, Dune 45 is in fact 45 kilometres from Sesriem Canyon. Meaning ‘open space’ in the local Nama tongue, the ‘Namib’ name progressed, eventually forming ‘Namibia’ meaning the ‘land of open spaces’.

The current boundaries of the Park were decided upon in 1978 by the merging of the Namib Desert Park, the Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park, portions of Diamond Area 1 and some other portions of surrounding government land. The Park includes Sossusvlei which is an enormous clay pan situated in the centre of the Namib Desert, renowned for its surrounding tall, red sand dunes that together create a massive sea of sand. Another ‘wow’ factor of the Namib Desert as well as the entrance point to the western region of the Namib-Naukluft Park, the Sesriem Canyon was created by the forces of the Tsauchab River which chiselled the canyon out of grainy rock throughout the past 2 million years. During the uncommon rainfalls in the Naukluft Mountains, the river evolves into a rapidly strong current of water that has, over the years, formed the canyon into what it is today – now one kilometre long and approximately 300 metres wide.

The water that pools in certain areas of the canyon quenchers the thirst of a wide selection of wildlife who have adapted to living in these extraordinarily dry settings.  Sesriem is an Afrikaans word meaning ‘six belts’ and was named so due to the fact that early explorers and settlers were required to fasten six belts together in order to lower buckets down into the canyon to retrieve fresh water.

Accommodation: Two Per Room: Hammerstein
Facilities: En-suites Per Room Please visit the website of the accommodation provider for a full list of the facilities offered
Route: Fish River Canyon to Namib Naukluft ±620 km

2019 Itinerary Change

Fish River Canyon – Quiver Tree Forest and Giants Playground, Namibia

Waking early this morning, we drive to the rim of the Fish River Canyon enjoying the beautiful sunrise in this magical piece of land before travelling to Keetmanshoop. The afternoon is spent exploring the magnificent quiver tree forest and the Giants Playground – well known as the Quiver Tree Forest, it is not really a tree but a plant that can grow to between 250 to 300 years old.

Accommodation: Two Per Room: Maritz Country Lodge
Facilities: En-suites Bathroom Please visit the website of the accommodation provider for a full list of the facilities offered
Route : Fish River Canyon to Keetmanshoop ±260 km
Included Highlights: Scenic walk along the rim of Fish River Canyon / Visit to Quiver Tree Forest and Giants Playground

Nomad - Taleni Desert Camp

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