Namib-Naukluft National Park
The Namib-Naukluft National Park is a national park of Namibia and covers a very wide section of the Namib Desert and the Naukluft Mountains.
The park total area is 49,768 square kilometers and it is one of the largest protected areas of the African continent and of the world.
The Namib desert is considered the oldest desert in the world and it is located on the Western side of the country, from the Orange River in the South to the border with Angola in the North; in these more than 1,300 kilometers of extension there are different landscapes, from the gravel stretches to the rocky outcrops up to the huge red sand dunes.
The scenario offered by the desert is amazing and it is fascinating to note how much wildlife is present despite the extreme conditions of the site.
The imposing mountains of the Naukluft, that jut out towards the desert, are characterized by a wide range of landscapes, plateaus and mountains tend to be rocky and with a sparse vegetation, while the gorges and valleys are green with lush flora that grows thanks to the water that emerges from underground.
The most visited area of the park is that of Sossusvlei, that is also the most easily accessible area of the desert; here you can make excursions on the sand dunes.
Some dunes can be climbed and reaching the top you can enjoy an incredible landscape and admire the vastness of this sea of sand.
Among the dunes flow seasonal rivers and they are present only in some months of the year, while for the rest of the time they are dry as well as the vlei, ephemeral lakes that receive the water of the rivers and that mark the point where the rivers stop their path, unable to climb the highest dunes and flow into the Atlantic Ocean.
On the Atlantic coast the dunes plunge into the icy ocean waters, and in this area lagoons can be found that attract a multitude of birds; also here you will find numerous abandoned wrecks of ships that the strong currents of the ocean have wrecked on these shores.
The creatures living in these areas have perfectly adapted to the arid climate over the centuries and exploit the seasonal rivers and lakes and humidity of the morning mists to meet their water needs.
The mists are formed on the coast where the cold Benguela Atlantic Current meets the warm, dry air coming from the hinterland; the fog penetrates the desert, even for several kilometers, giving the moisture that allows life to many creatures.