LAND OF CONTRAST
Celebrate Namibia series
Namibia is a land of many contrasting landscapes . This unique country is characterised by harsh desert and semi-desert conditions – the reason why it is the second-least populated country in the world. But apart from two deserts, ancient geological formations and vast savanna woodlands you will also find wetlands with abundant vegetation. The extreme beauty of this southern African country with its barren deserts, mighty sand dunes, rugged coastline and luscious wetlands makes it an ideal destination for explorers who appreciate nature’s artistry.
In the west, along the whole length of the country, lies the harsh landscape of the Namib Desert next to the Atlantic Ocean. In the central Namib the perfectly shaped sand dunes of the Namib Sand Sea meet the sea. The extensive dune fields are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The proximity of the desert to the cold Benguela Current causes nightly fogs to rise from the ocean. The fog moisture creates a unique environment which sustains an amazing biodiversity. The Namib Desert is alive with an array of endemic species that have adapted to the arid conditions.
he northern part of the coast is named Skeleton Coast
for the many ill-fated ships which floundered along these inhospitable shores, their remains relentlessly battered by the elements and the surf. Wildlife, however, thrives in this desert land almost entirely devoid of water. The champion survivor is the endemic Welwitschia mirabilis, an extraordinary plant that lives for hundreds of years. Some specimens are thought to be 2000 years old. Welwitschias occur only in the Namib Desert, along its entire length from northern South Africa to southern Angola.
Turning to the south, you can expect to encounter bug-eyed desert rain frogs and what is known as fairy circle, open areas for which scientists can find no explaination. You can also visit a once forbidden land, now known as Tsau // Khaeb National Park (formerly Sperrgebiet, a restricted area). Its Succulent Karoo Biome is a global biodiversity hotspot. The southwest of Namibia is part of this unparalleled ecoregion which boasts the world’s widest variety of succulent flora: a total of 6356 plant species, 40% of which are found nowhere else on earth. More than 900 of these species are threatened with extinction.
On your way north, you will find more of Namibia’s natural masterpieces, such as the Brandberg Massif. Home to the famous rock picture called the White Lady and other San paintings that date back thousands of years.
Further north lies the Kunene Region, which shields one of Africa’s hidden gems. The last free-roaming black rhinos traverse these parts. In fact, Namibia is the only country where the range and numbers of rhinos outside national parks are increasing.
Twyfelfontein, or Ui-||Ais, is another national treasure in the Kunene Region. This site holds the most extensive collection of rock engravings on the continent, and as such was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. Most of the items excavated there date back to the Late Stone Age.
World-famous Etosha National Park is situated in the heart of northern Namibia. Etosha, meaning great white place, is the name of the huge salt pan at its centre. It is the biggest salt pan in Africa, so large in fact that it is visible from space
In Namibia’s north-eastern corner the landscape completely transforms into the wetland paradise of the Zambezi Region. Taking its name from the mighty Zambezi River, the longest east-flowing river in Africa, the Zambezi Delta is a biodiversity hotspot teeming with birds and wildlife. The Zambezi and Kavango river basins form the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area where Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Zambia, and Zimbabwe converge. The jewel is the Okavango Delta (15,000 m²), a World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.
Southwest of the Zambezi Region, next to the border with Botswana, true adventure awaits in Khaudum National Park, home to abundant herds of elephants and the northern end of the Kalahari Desert.
Namibia is one of a kind. Visitors from all over the
globe marvel at the beauty and magnificence of its vast landscapes. You will never cease to be amazed by our natural wonders, whether you choose to explore the southern Kalahari, the central savannah, the Namib Desert or the northern forests and wetlands. Namibia has something spectacular to see, for everyone. This is a land that will captivate you, inspire and regenerate you.