Namib-Naukluft Park

Spanning more than 19,000 square miles, Namib-Naukluft Park occupies roughly a third of Namibia’s dramatic Atlantic Ocean coastline. As a national park, it protects the vistas and unique endemic wildlife of the Namib Desert, which is not only thought to be the world’s oldest, but also gave its name (meaning ‘open space’) to the whole country on its independence in 1990.

Namib-Naukluft’s vast area encompasses a surprising array of landscapes. To its east rise the Naukluft Mountains, where narrow valleys echoing to the sound of small streams provide habitats for Hartmann’s mountain zebra and (admittedly rarely seen) leopard. Elsewhere, the presiding geography is of kopjes (rocky hills) rising out of the land. However, it’s the rich orange-red sand dunes closer to the Atlantic waves which rightly attract the most attention.

Sossusvlei, a salt and clay pan (dry lake bed), is the location of some of the tallest sand dunes in the world. Constantly shifting in color from light oranges to the deepest reds, the tallest (Dune 45 and Big Daddy) soar to up to 1300 feet high, and are one of the most sublime places in the world to witness the rising or setting sun.

Nearby Deadvlei is similarly spectacular. Its collection of skeletal 500-year-old camel thorn trees is beloved of photographers of all kinds. It can easily be combined with a visit to Sossusvlei and Sesriem, a narrow canyon reminiscent of an Indiana Jones adventure.

Top Namibia Travel Destinations

Damaraland / Etosha National Park / Fish River Canyon / The Skeleton Coast / The Zambezi Region / Windhoek

The Big Five

African Elephant / Cape Buffalo / Leopard / Lion / Rhino

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