Namibia > The Namib Desert, Namib Naukluft National Park & Namib Rand Nature Reserve

Namibia

  • Dear Michele, I am emailing to let you know that we have had a wonderful holiday. Thank you for putting together an itinerary that provided us with the contrasts that we were looking for and also for ‘reading’ our tastes so well. We have had some great experiences and when we reached Sossusviei Desert Lodge I thought that I had died and gone to heaven. I cannot imagine that it could be bettered. Its location is picture perfect and I think it got our vote for the best rooms we have ever stayed in. Our second favourite place was Camp Kalahari. You rather ‘down sold’ this, and when one of my friends told me that she was going for a second time to Jack’s Camp I felt a little envious (although having looked at the prices for Jack’s Camp I can see that it would have added considerably to the cost). However in the event the experience here was really memorable and we could not see how it could have been improved upon. We were very glad that we decided to do the Grey Matters excursion, we never thought that we would get so close to an elephant and learn so much about them. We weren’t as enthused by Stanley’s lodge as the other accommodation. However staying at Stanley or the sister camp is the only way of doing Grey Matters and we would not have wanted to have missed that. All the arrangements worked like clockwork and we enjoyed the connecting flights by light aircraft, the flights to and from Sossusviei stand out in particular. So thank you again for providing us with a spectacular holiday.

    Nigel, Ann and Emma travelled through Botswana and Namibia
A dead tree and dunes near Sossuvlei, Namib Desert, NamibiaAerial view of Namib Desert, NamibiaBalloning in Namib Desert, NamibiaDead Vlei, Namib Desert, NamibiaNamib Desert dunes near Sossuvlei, NamibiaNamib Naukluft National Park, NamibiaNamib Rand dune view, NamibiaOryx on Kulala Reserve, Namib Desert, NamibiaSand dune, Namib Rand Nature Reserve, NamibiaSoussusvlei Dune running, Namib Desert, Namibia

Namibia

Regions

The Namib Desert, Namib Naukluft National Park and Namib Rand Nature Reserve

The Namib Desert is a region which should be included on any visit to Namibia, and is, quintessentially, what the country is about. The main Namib Naukluft National Park extends from the Luderitz area in the south to the Walvis Bay/Swakopmund area in the north, and inland to cover much of the vast Namib dune belt. To the east are a number of private conservancies from which you can explore this wilderness.

Within the National Park itself lie the renowned Sossusvlei dunes, which rise some 300m from valley floor. Sossusvlei is a huge dried up clay pan formed at the end of the Tsauchab River where the huge dunes stopped its progress toward the sea. Nearby are two other pans, Hidden Vlei and Dead Vlei. If you’re feeling fit, you can climb the dunes for a spectacular view of the surrounding area.

The Sesriem Canyon is one of the most amazing features of this desert.  Here, the Tsauchab River has carved a gorge (up to 100 ft deep) into the gravels deposited around 16 million years ago.  The canyon dates back to about 3 million years ago, when continental uplift caused the incision of most of the westward flowing rivers in Namibia. The canyon is about a kilometre long and becomes shallower as it makes its way towards Sossusvlei.

Bordering the park, the two most significant conservancies are the Kulala Conservancy and the Namib Rand Nature Reserve. The Namib Rand is huge, covering some 1800 sq.kms., and is stunningly beautiful with a mix of sand dunes and gravel plains, flanked on all sides by rugged mountains. There is a significant amount of wildlife, including oryx, springbok, mountain zebra, giraffe, bat-eared fox, ostrich and the occasional leopard or cheetah.  Although it is possible to reach the Sossusvlei dunes on a day trip from the northern section of the Namib Rand, a visit to this conservancy can also combine well with a stay closer to Sossusvlei.

The Kulala Conservancy is closer to Sesriem and although much smaller than the Namib Rand, has direct access into the National Park so is ideal for those with limited time in the region.

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