Visit the Namib Desert

Our planet has beautiful and contrasting landscapes alike. There are coral reefs, tropical forests, dream beaches, mountains that tear the skies and unforgettable deserts. One of these deserts is the Namib desert, one of the most important on the African continent.

Yes, can be visited, so today we propose a trip between dunes, under the overwhelming sun by day and under an ocean of stars at night.

The Namib Desert

This desert, as we said one of the most important in Africa, is on the border between Namibia and South Africa. It runs for 2 kilometers along its length and its width can vary between 80 and 200 kilometers. In square kilometers it has 81 thousand, and its name means precisely huge.

Some consider this desert it is the oldest in the world, so at least it was there 65 million years ago, in the Tertiary era. We can say of him that it is divided into two major climatic zones on either side of the Tropic of Capricorn. To the on the rains are a bit scarce, the temperature is lower and in winter it can freeze, while in the north it usually rains more, much more in summer.

The edge of the desert is a mountain range called the Great Escarpment. While in the north the peaks are crossed by numerous rivers, in the south the dunes are the majority and they extend to make the site a difficult landscape to avoid. On the shore side the waters are cold and rich in fish.

What is life like in the Namib Desert? Well, the humidity, the presence of fogs along the coast, the valleys and canyons and ponds, means that there are certain plants and animals not so frequent in areas classified as deserts. Otherwise you will see ostriches, hyenas, horses, jackals, zebras, elephants, lions, antelopes or giraffes.

Visit the Namib Desert

Since 2013 the desert is World Heritage. There is an area that has been declared Namib National Park, by the sea, 320 km long and 120 km wide. It contains dunes up to 300 meters high. Towards the center of the park is Sossusvlei, a site with lakes that form when it rains. Some have been empty for centuries and form a strange landscape with white backgrounds and reddish dunes all around. But when it rains those that fill with water attract life and the spectacle is wonderful.

The desert is beautiful and even if you go in high season you can be driving the car for hours without running into anyone. Yes, to visit this place you can sign up for a tour or you can go on your own with a rental car that you can pick up at the Windhoek Airport itself, the capital of Namibia which is 40 minutes from the airport. From here to the park it is about five hours on gravel routes, so a truck or SUV is convenient to make the journey comfortable.

In addition, the GPS may not work and the same may be a local SIM card, so it is advisable to download a map on the mobile off line.. Are you wondering if driving a car on the roads of Namibia is safe? Yes, even solo women have traveled and recommend it. Anyone, male or female, must have scheduled the tour in advance so the route to the desert will depend a little on where you are going to stay.

Gondwana Lodges are highly recommended by many, especially if you don't like camping and want a luxurious experience under the stars. It has bungalows with their own terrace, bathroom and swimming pool, there are only ten, so if you like what you see ... book! You can get here by car and it is a great place because you are in the same desert, what an oasis. To get there you have to go through Sesriem, already inside the national park, so you have to pay entrance.

So, once with the car, you have to leave Windhoek and get ready to spend half a day in the car. En route you pass the sign of the Tropic of Capricorn and the photo is a must. The first hour runs along a very normal asphalt road, the C26, but after a few hours you have to turn right onto the D1275 in the direction of Solitaire, already on a gravel road but surrounded by wonderful landscapes.

On that route we cross the Kupferberg Pass towards the Spreetschoogte pass and pass through Nauchas where you will see many farms and a police station. We finally reached Solitaire but we have to continue for another 40 minutes until we reach Gondwana Lodges. If you choose to stay here it is your starting point to get to know the interior of the desert and its wonders, otherwise you can search camps or other lodges such as We kebi Lodge, Le Mirage Hotel & Spa, Moon Montain Logde, etc.

Well, the next thing is to go to get to know the area of ​​Sossvlei and Deadvlei, the area of ​​living and dead lakes, We could say. Yes or yes you have to go to Sesriem and that means driving an hour and a half, two hours from Gondwana Lodges. Once there, as we said above, we are inside the Namib - Naukluft National Park so you have to park and pay the entrance. Then it remains to follow the path to run into the Dune 42 and Dune 45.

Here you have to pay yes or yes for a jeep service that will take us to the following places, Deadvlei and Sossusvlei. At what time should this whole trip begin? Well either early or late because sunrise and sunset are the best times of the day in the desert. If you choose the morning then you should be at Dune 42 at 8 am to contemplate the best colors. Both Dune 42 and Dune 45 are huge, huge, maybe they are the largest dunes in the world.

Once you see the dunes you have to take the jeep. Do you have a rented 4 x4 jeep? Well, you can go with yours but you have to know how to drive very well so as not to get stuck in the sand. Why the effort? We pay the driver and he takes us to each of the places and picks us up whenever we want. And finally, the lakes of the Namib Desert.

A deadadvlei We arrived walking after 25 minutes of walking. Dead lakes are beautiful, with a white background, with some dry trees believed to have died 700 years ago. Imagine that, 350-meter-high dunes, seven-century trees ... Not for nothing has it been named Big Dune. Then it is the turn of Sossusvlei.

These two destinations cannot be missed but they are not the only ones. You can even observe the desert from the air with a airplane tour to more or less 450 euros per person. These tours can last 45 minutes or an hour and a half if the plane takes you a little further, towards the Skeleton Coast.

A few last tips for visiting the Namib desert: wear boots because the sand gets into your low shoes, the high season is July with excellent weather conditions, if you visit in the morning you should also return in the evening, at least to see the dunes, check the opening hours opening of the park, bring water and a hat.

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