DAY 8 SWAKOPMUND · NAMIB-NAUKLUFT
Breakfast. Travel to Swakopmund. Walk on the moon Namibian-style at the Namib Moon Landscape, a name given to a part of the valley of the Swakop River near Swakopmund. The lunar-type landscape, eroded by thousands of years of wind and rain, is awe-inspiring. The river that flows from time to time at the bottom of the valley brings a short-lived period of fertility to the region and the water allows some plants to survive in this hostile environment. Man tried to cultivate parts of this valley for agriculture at the beginning of the previous century, with little success due to the harshness of the environment. Discover the Welwitschia mirabilis, a botanical curiosity that is found almost exclusively in areas of fog of the Namib Desert. Some specimens are older than 1500 years. Lunch. Capture hypnotic scenic images at the Kuiseb Canyon. The ephemeral Kuiseb River has carved an impressive nine kilometre long canyon which can be seen from the C14 road close to the town of Solitaire. This river is the dividing line between the endless rocky plains of the north and the sand dunes that end near the Orange River. After the rainy season in the summer, the Kuiseb River mostly dries up but some water remains at the canyon. Klipspringer, leopard, hyena, jackal and springbok can sometimes be spotted. Prepare to be mesmerised as you explore the enormous Namib-Naukluft National Park.
The park covers an area of just under 50 000 km2, and is the largest nature conservation area in Namibia, and the fourth largest in the world. This is a vast, remote area encompassing dramatic landscapes, from an
impressive mountain massif to desert plains and high dunes, to deep gorges and an estuarine lagoon. The Naukluft area is situated north-west of Maltahöhe on the road to the coastal town of Swakopmund at the edge of the Namib Desert. Amid the semi-desert landscape and mountainous escarpment, mountain zebra and other species of game can be found. Sesriem, the main entrance gate to the park, lies west of the Naukluft mountains, where the Tsauchab River disappears dramatically down a steep gorge at a huge, dried-up pan, called Sossusvlei. Here, the towering dunes, reaching up to 300 m high – among the tallest dunes in the world – extend as far as the eye can see, and their multi-coloured hues vary from pale apricot to vivid reds and oranges. Sandwich Harbour, 42 km south of the port of Walvis Bay, is a large, reed-lined marine lagoon home to many coastal and freshwater birds and only accessibly by 4×4 vehicles. Dinner at Sossusvlei Lodge. (B/L/D)
Accommodation: Namib-Naukluft for 1 night