The Namib Desert is believed to be the oldest desert on Earth. It is also one of the lease densely populated places in Africa outside of certain regions of the Sahara. Because of this it is one of the least visited and most pristine places on the continent. Much of it is protected as part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park.
The strip of land along Africa’s southwesternmost coast has been desertified for millions of years. Almost completely uninhabitable, few people have lived here throughout history, even in the present day. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that the area began to be significantly explored and studied by scientists. The Namib-Naukluft National Park was established in 1979 to preserve this almost untouched landscape.
The Namib Desert gets less than a tenth of an inch of rain annually in some areas. There is virtually no open water on the surface through most of the year. The area known as Sossusvlei is a region of dunes, salt flats and clay pans. In the southern stretch of the desert can be found some of the world’s largest sand dunes, with some approaching one thousand feet in height.
The Namib Desert is a popular tourist destination in Namibia, but a natural gem still largely unknown to the outside world. Most visitors go to the Namib-Naukluft National Park, which gets higher than average rainfall and supports more wildlife. Some of the largest dunes of the desert are also located within the park. Web: www.namibnaukluftpark.com (official website).
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