The Namib-Naukluft National Park is one of the largest conservation areas in the world. Covering an area of 50,000 square kilometers, it dwarfs many other wildlife sanctuaries across the globe. Picture the Namib-Naukluft National Park as a destination with sand dunes, canyons, river areas along with amazing scenery and you would develop a fine idea of what a heavenly national park looks like.
Apart from its beauty, the Namib-Naukluft National Park protects one of the oldest planets on earth, the Namib Desert as well. The only prerequisite to visiting this park is to have plenty of time on your sleeves. You will have to stop for photographs, picnics, wildlife, stunning scenery, and much more along the way. Therefore, with so much excitement in one place, there is a need to explore every inch of heaven on earth.
The History of Namib-Naukluft National Park
The history of Namib-Naukluft National Park dates back to 1907 when the German Colonial Administration undertook three game reserves situated in German southwest Africa. The Namib-Nukluft National Park of today was actually the ‘Game Reserve No.3’. Then in 1941, the Sandwich Harbor was added followed by the addition of Swakop River Valley and the Kuiseb Canyon. The park was renamed the Namib Desert Park in 1968. The year 1979, saw the addition of Diamond area No.2 that included the Sossusvlei and Sesriem area as well. By joining them to the Naukluft Park, the Namib-Naukluft National Park came into being.
The Naukluft Mountains
The first feature of the Namib-Naukluft National Park that you will observe are the Naukluft Mountains. Back in 1968, these mountains were protected and were a part of the Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park. This was done to protected and conserve a very special breed of Hartmann’s mountain zebra. Then, after a short period of time, it was decided that a corridor be formed. Therefore, the land existing to the West was bought as well, which linked the mountains into the Namib National Park. As a result, animals like zebra and oryx could migrate between the two areas, and in 1979, the parks came into being formally and became a part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park.
Fauna & Flora of the Naukluft
If you were to visit the deeper kloofs, you shall come across permanent springs where vegetation is completely different in terms of being more lush and green. Most animals will graze here and feed on buffalo thorn, spot camelthorn, and shepherd trees while drinking water at the same time. The best part of the Naukluft Mountains is that it consists of many large mammals but it could be difficult to spot them. Since most of them are shy and sensitive, you could only catch a glimpse from a distance. Klipspringer, mountain zebra, and oryx are some examples.
The Naukluft National Park is home to many streams and springs. Furthermore, it regularly receives heavy rainstorms each year, during the summer season. This fills up these streams and springs, which help produce a variety of fauna & flora in Naukluft. The mountainsides and high plateau areas tend to consist of plant species that specialize in storing water for years. Since there is nearly any soil, the animal species that live in this area tend to rely on them as a source of both food and water. It is estimated that around 200 species of birds could be found in the Namin-Naukliftpark. Keep an eye out for brubru, wetter kloofs, karoo robin, African black ducks, and much more. There are mammals here too and the inspiring black and taupe, spiralled-horned oryx is master of the vast shade-less wilderness.
Springbok are also able to endure for long periods without water, as long as they can find food with a dampness content of no less than 10%.
Spotted hyenas reside the Namib Naukluft Park but are infrequently seen, while black-backed jackals are more observable.
The lagoon also supports numerousvanishing Red Data species such asblacknecked grebe,chestnutbanded plover, and white pelican .
Tourists visiting Namib-Naukluft National Park wish to visit the desert area as well. This Sossuvlei&Sesriem area features mammoth apricot dunes with graceful ridges. The area rests on the Tsauchab River, which is one of the two large rivers.
The Sesriem Canyon is a place to relax and snap thousands of pictures while you are swimming in cold water. This Canyon was used by people who settled here decades ago to draw water using six lengths of hiding rope called reims. Hence, the name sesreims. Furthermore, it is an easily accessible place but it is suggested that you swim only when the water is moving and not stagnant. Other than the large frogs that are stationed here, you do not need to be concerned about anything else.
Where to stay?
For a place such as the Namib-Naukluft National Park, you need a special place to stay. Regardless of where you choose to stay, the beauty of the park could be witnessed from every angle. However, the best play according to tourists is the Kuala Desert Lounge. Although, it is a long drive to get there but you can expect excellent quality and service.
If you are looking for a better location, consider staying at Sossu Dune Lodge, which allows you to access the area both before and after the gates are shut. Perhaps the best thing about this lodge is that it is both affordable and moderate in size. You will have fantastic views of the scenery, offered in abundance by the park.
Ballooning in the Namib Desert
Ballooning in the Namib Desert is something you cannot miss. If you are not afraid of heights, book a balloon flight over the Namib Desert. You will travel with the wind and witness the oldest desert come to life with sunrise. Once you land, a champagne breakfast will be waiting along with flight certificates presented by the pilot.
On rare instances when it rains, the desert answersincredibly quickly, creating a miracle of yellow flowers, green leaves and sprouting grasses.
Rain usually falls in late summer from February to April, but according to a 8 year study, most showers in the southern Namibia (Sossusvlei area), occurred in the months of December, March and April with an average rainfall of 63mm per annum. However, rainfall is unpredictable and the high summer temperatures causequicks evaporation. As a result the Namib is categorized by international standards as ‘hyper-arid’.
From November through to March the daytime temperatures hardly peak below 95°F (35°C) or drop lower than 59°F (15°C) at night. From April to October daytime temperatures range between a very pleasant 77°F (25°C) to 95°F (35°C), with June, July and August recording the lowest night-time temperatures around 41°F (5°C).
The Namib-Naukluft could be visited at any time during the year. However, if you wish to visit during summer seasons, be aware of the heavy downpours. These downpours could continue for days but the end result is stunning. Lush green vegetation with dark-colored mountains and freshly watered running springs and streams will make you admire one of the most beautiful creations of Mother Nature.
The only way to do justice to the Namib-Naukluft National Park is to explore the dunes and mountains properly. Split your days and provide a major chunk of your time to the Naukluft Mountains and Sesriem area.