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Namib Desert in Namibia: Explore the oldest desert in the world

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Located in the southwestern African country of Namibia, the Namib Desert stands as a testament to nature's artistry, renowned as one of the oldest and most captivating deserts on the planet. Spanning vast stretches of land along the Atlantic coast, this desert landscape is a study in contrasts, with towering sand dunes meeting the rugged coastline in a harmonious dance of elements.

Forged over millions of years by the relentless forces of wind and time, the Namib Desert is a treasure for adventurers and a sanctuary for those seeking solace amidst its surreal beauty. From the towering heights of Dune 45 to the ethereal landscapes of Sossusvlei, every corner of the Namib Desert tells a story of resilience and wonder. Whether exploring its otherworldly terrain or simply marvelling at its breathtaking vistas, the Namib Desert offers an unforgettable journey into the heart of Africa's soul.

History of Namib Desert, Namibia

The Namib Desert, located primarily in Namibia but also extending into parts of Angola and South Africa, is one of the oldest and driest deserts in the world. Its name, "Namib," is of Nama origin, meaning "vast place." The desert spans approximately 2,000 kilometres along the Atlantic coast of southwestern Africa, covering an area of around 81,000 square kilometres. The history of the Namib Desert is closely tied to its unique geological and climatic features. It is believed to have formed over 55 million years ago, making it one of the world's most ancient deserts. The desert's arid conditions are largely attributed to the cold Benguela Current, which flows northward along the coast, resulting in low precipitation and high levels of fog.

In 2013, UNESCO recognised the Namib Desert in Namibia as a World Heritage Site due to its exceptional climate and remarkable age, estimated at 55 million years, thus cementing its status as the world's oldest desert. Recently, the Namib Desert has become an increasingly popular tourist destination, offering opportunities for adventure activities such as dune hiking, sandboarding, and wildlife safari in Africa.

How to reach the Namib Desert, Namibia?

To reach the Namib Desert in Namibia, there are a few main options. The closest major international airport is Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. From there, you can either rent a car and drive about 5 hours southwest to the Sesriem gate of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, which gives access to Sossusvlei, or take a small charter flight from Windhoek to the coastal town of Swakopmund or Walvis Bay, which are closer to the dunes and ghost towns of the Namib Desert, Namibia.

Things to do in the Namib Desert in Namibia

Quad Biking

Quad bikes, also known as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), are designed for off-road adventures, making them perfect for navigating the sandy terrain of the Namib Desert. You will get a chance to experience the thrill of speeding across the dunes, tackling challenging slopes, and manoeuvring through sandy valleys as you explore the desert's diverse landscapes. Quad biking tours in the Namib Desert are surely exciting and adventurous routes, taking you off the beaten path to discover hidden gems and remote corners of the desert. Explore dry riverbeds, ancient canyons, and rugged terrain as you go ahead on a thrilling off-road adventure.

Sandboarding

Sandboarding

Sandboarding in the Southern Namib Desert offers an exhilarating and unforgettable experience, combining the thrill of snowboarding with the stunning scenery of the world's oldest desert.  Whether you're a beginner or an experienced rider, there are dunes of varying sizes and slopes to suit all skill levels. Most sandboarding in the Namib Desert is led by experienced guides who will provide instruction on how to safely navigate the dunes and get the most out of your sandboarding experience. They'll offer tips and techniques for mastering the art of sandboarding and ensure that you have a fun and memorable time on the dunes.

Explore Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei is home to some of the tallest sand dunes in the world, including the famous Dune 45 and Big Daddy. These towering dunes, sculpted by the wind over millions of years, create a dramatic and awe-inspiring landscape that is unlike anything you've ever seen. Nearby, you'll find Deadvlei, a surreal and otherworldly clay pan surrounded by towering orange sand dunes. The scenery at Sossusvlei is simply breathtaking, with endless vistas of rolling sand dunes stretching as far as the eye can see. Whether you're admiring the sunrise from the top of a dune or exploring the depths of a dry riverbed, you'll be surrounded by the natural beauty and tranquillity of the desert landscape.

Climb Dune 45

Climbing Dune 45 is an iconic experience in the Namib Desert, Namibia offering visitors the chance to conquer one of the tallest and most accessible sand dunes in the region. Rising majestically from the desert floor, Dune 45 presents a challenging yet rewarding ascent that culminates in awe-inspiring panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Reaching the top of Dune 45, you're rewarded with an unforgettable vista that encompasses rolling dunes, rugged mountains, and the stark beauty of the Namib Desert stretching as far as the eye can see.

Enjoy a safari in Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park is home to a wide variety of animal species, including elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, and more. The park's expansive salt pan and surrounding grasslands provide essential habitats for these animals, making it one of the best Africa tour places to view wildlife up close. In addition to its abundant wildlife, Etosha National Park boasts breathtaking landscapes characterised by open savannah, woodland, and mopane scrubland. The park's centrepiece, the vast Etosha Pan, is a shimmering salt flat visible from space and provides a striking backdrop for wildlife sightings.

Places to Visit Near Namib Desert in Namibia

Swakopmund

Located on the Atlantic coast, Swakopmund is a charming seaside town known for its German colonial architecture, palm-lined streets, and sandy beaches. You can enjoy a variety of activities, including quad biking, sandboarding, boat cruises, and exploring the nearby Namib desert -Naukluft National Park.

Walvis Bay

Just south of Swakopmund lies Walvis Bay, a bustling port town renowned for its lagoon, which is home to a diverse array of birdlife, including flamingos, pelicans, and cormorants. Visitors can take boat tours of the lagoon, go kayaking, or enjoy fresh seafood at the waterfront restaurants.

Skeleton Coast Park

Stretching along Namibia's northern coastline, Skeleton Coast Park is a remote and rugged wilderness area known for its stark beauty and abundant wildlife. The park is home to shipwrecks, seal colonies, and desert-adapted wildlife, making it a popular destination for safari adventures and coastal exploration.

Damaraland

Located to the northeast of the Namib Desert, Damaraland is a vast and rugged region characterised by rocky mountains, ancient valleys, and expansive plains. Here you can explore the area's rich cultural heritage, encounter desert-adapted wildlife such as desert elephants and rhinos, and marvel at ancient rock art sites.

Kaokoland

Further north, Kaokoland is a remote and sparsely populated region inhabited by indigenous Himba and Herero communities. The area is known for its stunning desert landscapes, towering mountains, and traditional villages, offering travellers a glimpse into Namibia's rich cultural diversity and natural beauty.

The Namib Desert offers a mesmerising fusion of ancient history, breathtaking natural landscapes, and modern comforts, creating an unforgettable experience for travellers. With its rugged beauty, the desert is a destination that promises to leave a lasting impression on visitors, making it an essential addition to your holiday packages in South Africa.

April 19, 2024

Author

Veena World
Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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