Namib-Naukluft, a Desert Full of Surprises

Namib-Naukluft National Park is a reserve in the southwest of the continent covering varied landscapes, including the one believed to be the oldest desert on earth. The Namib Desert area in a part of the reserve, receives only about 18 mm of rainfall per year. We could imagine an unattractive territory yet, nature manages to provide many surprises.

In the Namib-Naukluft Park ecosystems are varied: it has areas of fog near the Atlantic coast that gives a huge sea of orange dunes because the sand iron has been oxidized, which also gives the landscape a bright golden color, a Planícia (gravel plains) and mountain areas to the Naukluft cord.

The first surprise comes from the rich fauna. Although arguably in the desert of Namibia where rain is not in abundance since the Cretaceous (about 55 million years) era, many species still manage to survive in an area where rainfall is not more than a few drops a year and evaporate as fast as the clouds.

Surprises also come from the hand of scenic extravagance. The park also contains the giant dunes of Sossusvlei, famous for its red sand dunes that are up to 600 meters above sea level, or about 300 feet above the desert floor height.
For thousands of years, the Namib-Naukluft area, preserves a collection of creatures adapted to the lack of water, including snakes, lizards, endemic insects, hyenas, and even one of the world’s rarest plants . Having so little water, many species have learned to subsist only by capturing the water vapor that comes from the coast.

The strange plant of which we speak is called Welsitschia mirabilis, only a thick trunk with two leaves growing in a very “messy” way and can grow up to dozens of yards. Although this plant looks like a dead tree, or dry, it can live to up to 2,000 years and can support itself up to five years without rain.

Namib also has a variety of vertebrate fauna, including 147 species of amphibians and reptiles, 220 birds and 150 mammals, many of them associated with the beds of temporal rivers.

Another natural wonder of the Namib-Naukluft Park area is the Dead Vlei , it once was a river just a few kilometers before emptying into the sea, leaving a ghostly landscape with dead trees, which for thousands of years remain in place because there is no moisture that allows for them to decompose.

The reservation of Namib-Naukulft has a size that makes it the largest in Africa, with an extension that exceeds the territory of Switzerland. Therefore, cross it entirely, is a time-consuming task but is abundantly full of surprises which each year attracts thousands of tourists.

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