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I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa

Naukluft Park


Visitors are quite often amazed at the fauna and flora of this nature reserve. In many parts of the desert and the barren mountain world, where nothing seems to grow, game can be seen. Oryx wander across the hot plains shimmering in the heat between the red dunes near Sossusvlei – or suddenly appear right out of the sand sea. Small herds of springbok are resting on the vast gravel plains, and Hartmann’s mountain zebra agilely take flight into the mountains on rocky paths. At the foot of enormous dunes and along dry riverbeds gnarled old Camel thorn trees are growing, and from a red dune the juicy light-green of a Nara plant catches the eye.

Covering 50,000km2, this park is the largest nature conservation area in Africa and one of the biggest in the world. The park stretches from the Swakop River in the north down to the tar road between Aus and Lüderitz in the south, from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the central plateau in the east.

The park consists of four parts accessible to visitors. The Namib Desert between Swakop and Kuiseb Rivers, the area around the lagoon at Sandwich Harbour, the Naukluft Mountains as well as the dunes of Sossusvlei and Sesriem Canyon in the so-called Dune Namib.

In 1907 the colonial governor of the time, Fredrich von Lindequist, proclaimed the central part of the Namib Desert ‘Nature Conservation Area No 3’. In 1941 the lagoon at Sandwich Harbour was declared a protected area, and from 1956 onwards the Kuiseb Canyon, the Swakop riverbed and finally the Welwitschia Plain were added. In 1968 the entire protection area was combined into the Namib Desert Park. At about the same time former farmland in the Naukluft Mountains was also declared a protection area.

Later, when the mining company Consolidated Diamond Mines relinquished part of the Diamond Restricted Area 2, it was – together with the Naukluft protected areas – integrated into the Namib Desert Park to form the Namib Naukluft Park, boosting its size to 23,000 km2 in 1979. The park grew to its present size in 1986, when the remainder of the Diamond Restricted Area 2 and a small part of Area 1 was relinquished.

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