Etosha Park Namibia is an experience like no other, the vast open spaces of Etosha range from the huge salt pans to swaying savannah grass and are natures backdrop to incredible wildlife including Lion Elephant Leopard Rhino Cheetah Springbok Jackal Zebra Giraffe Impala Hyena to name a few add the exceptional bird life and a beautiful sunsets and you can start to understand why a Safari holiday to Etosha Park is one of the main highlights of any trip to Namibia.

Namib Desert & Naukluft Information Guide

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sesreim namibia naukluft namibia sossusvlei namibia

Sesreim Sossusvlei the Namib Desert
& Naukluft


The Namib Desert is a desert in Namibia which forms part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. The name "Namib" is of Nama origin.
The desert occupies an area of around 80 900 km² (31 200 square miles), stretching about 1000 miles (1,600 km) along the Atlantic Ocean coast of Namibia.
Its east-west width varies from 30 to 100 miles (50-160 km). The Namib Desert also reaches into southwest Angola.
It is considered to be the oldest desert in the world after the Atacama Desert in Chile. The Namib's aridity is caused by the descent of dry air cooled by the cold Benguela current along the coast. It has less than 10 mm (0.4 inches) of rain annually and is almost completely barren.

The Namib Naukluft Park is Namibia's largest nature reserve, about 50,000 sqkms in size. Most parts of this enormous area are not accessible to man. You can only visit a small stretch north of the Kuiseb river: the Naukluft Mountains and the Sossusvlei in the central dune fields.
The northern part between Swakop and Kuiseb is called the Namib Section.

The highlight of a visit to the Namib Naukluft Park is a trip to the Sossusvlei. It lies within an area of about 32 000 sqkms, the largest part of the park. Sossusvlei is the one attraction that should not be missed while you are in Namibia, the dunes are amazing and even though this is a popular tourist destination it is still easy to gain a sense of solitude while climbing one of the dunes or walking to dead or hidden vlei.

The sand-dunes at Sossusvlei are some 60km from the Sesriem gate (the entrance to the park) and the drive takes about an hour. The gate into Sesriem only opens at sunrise, so those staying outside of the park (which includes all the lodges in the area with the exception of Sossus Dune Lodge) will have to wait until sunrise to begin their journey to the dunes. Many of the lodges outside the Sesreim gate however have access to private areas of spectacular desert where they will take you for the Namib Sunrise experience.

Although the road into Sossusvlei is renowned for its rough condition it is traversable with a normal sedan vehicle (two wheel drive). The road from Sesriem to the 2x4 car park (4 kilometres from the vlei) is tarred but is in poor condition and is pot-holed. Because the dunes close in and the road becomes a sandy track near the vlei itself, if you do not have your own 4x4 you will have to walk the final stretch from the 2X4 parking area to the vlei - many people do - or use the 4x4 transfer service.

The best time to view Sossusvlei is close to sunrise and sunset; the colours are strong and constantly changing, allowing for wonderful photographic opportunities. The midday heat is intense and best spent in the shade while sunset also offers excellent photo opportunities at Sossusvlei.
'Vlei' is the Afrikaans word for a shallow depression filled with water (well, a depression that might sometimes be filled with water!), and the name 'Sossusvlei' should strictly only be applied to the pan that lies at the place where the dunes close in, preventing the waters of the Tsauchab River from flowing any further - that is, on the rare occasions that the river does flow as far as this.
During exceptional rainy seasons, Sossusvlei may fill with water, causing Namibians to flock there to witness the grand sight, but normally it is bone dry. This particular 'vlei' is actually a more-or-less circular, hard-surfaced depression that is almost entirely surrounded by sharp-edged dunes, beyond which lies a formidable sea of rolling sand, stretching in unbroken immensity all the way to the coast.
However, the name 'Sossusvlei' nowdays applies to the whole area - an area that encompasses the great plain of the Tsauchab River together with the red dunes that march along like giant sentinels to south and north of the plain.
The second attraction of the area is Sesriem Canyon, which is only a few kilometres from the campsite, the entrance gate, and main Nature Conservation office.
The canyon derives its name from the fact that early Afrikaner trekkers had to use six ('ses') leather thongs (a thong is a 'riem') so that their buckets could reach the water far below. The canyon begins as an almost imperceptible but nevertheless deep cleft in level, stony ground, and then widens until it finally flattens out onto the plain. Because it is so deep and sheltered, it often holds water well into the dry season - an invigorating sight in such a barren and stark environment.

Map of Namib Naukluft area showing accommodation locations

Click on lodge name for more information

ababis guestfarm solitaire guesthouse solitaire country lodge agama river camp weltevrede namib naukluft lodge namib desert lodge sesreim camp sossus dune lodge sossusvlei lodge desert self catering le mirage kulala desert lodge hammerstein lodge burgsdorf guestfar malahohe hotel helmeringhausen hotel bethanien

Sesreim Accommodation

Sesreim area Lodges and Hotels
sossusvlei hotels and lodges

 

Hammerstein lodge
Little Kulala Lodge
Desert Homestead
Le Mirage Lodge & Spa
Kulala Desert Lodge
Sossus Dune Lodge
Sossusvlei Lodge
Namib Desert Lodge
Namib Naukluft lodge
Weltvrede Guest Farm
Ababis Guest lodge
Solitaire Guest Farm
Solitaire Country Lodge

 

email: book@go.namibiabookings.com

Sesreim Accommodation

Sesreim area Camping
sesreim self catering

 

Namib Naukluft lodge
Hammerstein lodge
Weltvrede Guest Farm
Ababis Guest lodge
Sesreim Camping
Solitaire Camp Site
Agama River Camp
Solitaire Guest Farm

 

email: book@go.namibiabookings.com

Sesreim Accommodation

Sesreim area Self Catering
places to stay namib desert namibia

 

Desert Camp
Ababis Guest lodge
Hammerstein lodge
Solitaire Guest Farm
Weltvrede Guest Farm

 

email: book@go.namibiabookings.com

A number of unusual species of plants and animals are found only in this desert. One of these is Welwitschia mirabilis, one of the most unusual species.
Welwitschia is a shrub-like plant, but grows just two long strap-shaped leaves continuously throughout its lifetime. These leaves may be several meters long, gnarled and twisted from the desert winds. The taproot of the plant develops into a flat, concave disc in age. Welwitschia is notable for its survival in the extremely arid conditions in the Namib, sometimes deriving moisture from the coastal sea fogs.

Although the desert is largely unpopulated and inaccessible, there are year-round settlements at Sesriem, close to the famous Sossusvlei and a huge group of sand dunes, which at more than 300 meters high are among the tallest sand dunes in the world. The complexity and regularity of dune patterns in its dune sea have attracted the attention of geologists for decades. They still remain poorly understood.
The interaction between the water-laden air coming from the sea via southerly winds, some of the strongest of any coastal desert, and the dry air of the desert causes immense fogs and strong currents, causing sailors to lose their way.
Along with the Skeleton Coast further north, it is notorious as the site of many shipwrecks. Some of these wrecked ships can be found as much as 50 metres inland, as the desert slowly moves westwards into the sea, reclaiming land over a period of many years.

The C14 also leads from Walvis Bay through the Namib Naukluft Park and provides stunning vistas of landscapes of huge mountain massifs and gravel plains covered in desert ink. After passing the sandy riverbed of the Kuiseb, you exit the park.
From there the road ascends steeply to the Kuiseb Pass and then branches out. To the left the C26 leads to the Gamsberg Pass and further on to Windhoek. On the right the C14 goes to Solitaire and from there, it's the C19 to Sesriem or straight on into the Naukluft Mountains. Both destinations are part of the Namib Naukluft Park. The scenery in the entire area is overwhelmingly beautiful.

The Naukluft Mountains with their rugged rock massifs and deeply incised riverbeds rise up to 1000 metres above the surrounding area. The highest peak reaches 1949 m. The mountains are a hiker's paradise. You will find quite strenuous as well as easy trails. The entrance gate to the Naukluft Section lies on the D854 Pad, which turns of the C14.

The Naukluft Mountain section of the park was initially created as a sanctuary for the Hartmann's mountain zebra. The mountainous area is extremely beautiful as well as having an interesting history. The Naukluft Mountains were the base of Hendrik Witbooi, an important player in the history of Namibia, who terrorized the German Colonizers from his well protected mountain strongholds. Hendrik is now fondly remembered and his portrait can be found on all the Namibian bank notes.

The Naukluft offers hikers two hiking options:
Waterkloof Trail (17 km): It takes 6 to 8 hours and can be done all year round.
The Waterkloof Trail starts at the Naukluft parking lot and is not guided. With a bit of luck you'll encounter Mountain Zebra, Baboons, Oryx and Springbok.
Olive Trail (10 Km): This hike takes 4 to 5 hours and can also be done all year (just follow the yellow footprints). The fee for the hike is included in the camping price.