| | |
Even though Namibia is dominated by one of the world's oldest deserts, there are still many areas that are rife with a diversity of fauna and flora. To protect these natural wonders in a land where it does not seem as life should exist, a number of game reserves and national parks were created.
Etosha National Park
Established in 1907 in the north western parts of the country, this national park used to stretch over 100 000 km². Over the century, however, the size has shrunk considerably to its modern size of 22 270 km². Even though it has shrunk considerably in size, it is is still a large area where a great diversity of wildlife is protected.
The park is dominated by the the Etosha Pan, the remnants of a primordial lake the dried up when the courses of rivers were changed through tectonic forces. In the dry season this 6 122 km² pan is a scorched span of salt-laden soil but when the rainy season comes, it becomes a shallow pool where flamingoes and other water birds congregate to feed.
Except for the rainy season, the park has very little ground water with most of it coming from underground rivers. Man-made boreholes and watering holes help the animals that call the park home to survive through the driest parts of the year and also offer a great opportunity for visitors to view the resident creatures. Amongst the usual African wildlife visitors can expect to see, the Big 5 are also known to make frequent appearances.
Visitors can stay at one of the various lodges that surround the park and go on guided drives or stay at one of the three rest camps inside the park and take on the wilds of Africa on their own.
Stretching along the coast of Namibia and including the impressive Naukleft mountains, this is one of Africa's largest game parks encompassing nearly 50 000 km².
One of the oldest deserts in the world is home to a surprising number of wildlife. The array of animals includes snakes, geckos, endemic insects and the hardy gemsbok to name but a few. Across the ancient red dunes, rocky expanses, fog-shrouded coastlines and tough grasslands, one can find all manner of animals that have managed to carve niche for themselves in this harrowing environment.
The areas is also an attraction for those not even looking for game. The Namib is home to some of the tallest dunes in the world that tower 300 metres into air. Activities for the adventurous include 4x4 safaris, sandboarding and many others. Discover the secrets of the Skeleton Coast or simply marvel in a place on earth that seems like it should be on another planet.
Khaudom National Park
Located at the so-called root of the Caprivi Strip, this is one of the most remote and inaccessible national parks in Namibia. Unspoiled by large groups of tourists and nestled in the Kalahari desert, it offers those few visitors who find their way here an experience they will not soon forget.
The park is made up of a combination of dry forests, acacia forests and hardy shrubs. The dry rivers of Omiromab, Nhoma, Cwiba and Khaudom become lifelines when the rainy season starts. The park offers a great variety of big game including elephants, kudu, eland, buffalo and a variety of antelopes. Meanwhile predators are drawn here as well and lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and a many other smaller predators can often be seen here.
The remote location of the park ensures that it remains unspoiled by the hand of civilisation. It is hard to reach without a 4x4 and there are no luxurious camps within its confines, only unsecured camps where visitors sleep next door to their wild African neighbours.
Waterberg National Park
This park is not only an important conservation site, but also has historical importance. It is the site of the last battle between German colonial forces and the Herero people before the colonists drove them out of the area. There is also evidence of San rock paintings in the area and, even older, the footprints of great thundering dinosaurs that stalked the area millions of years ago.
Today the Waterberg reach high into the air above the dry Kalahari on the eastern edge of Namibia. Originally the remote location of the mountains along with the difficulty of reaching the heights of the area, turned it into a sanctuary for endangered animals. The project proved successful and today the area continues its efforts, exporting rare animals to habitats all over Africa.